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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 




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■Vwi i rfaj 












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L~;^U 



HELD IN THRALL. 



BY 



BRACEBRIDGE HEMYNG, 

AUTHOR OF "THE CAM: LBT THROW," "SECRETS OP THE TUEP, ' 

ETC., HTC, F.TC. 



LONDON: 
('. II. CLARKE, 13, PATERNOSTER ia>\\ 



LONDON: 
PRINTED BT W. WILFRED HEAD, VICTORIA PRESS, 12, 13, & 14, HARP ALLET, 
FARRINGDOX STREET, E.C. 



M- 3 7V 



HELD IN THEALL. 



CHAPTER I. 

JEALOUSY. 



A few years ago, one of the magnates of a county, which we 
will call Midlandshirc, was Lord Cariston, an elderly, crotchety 
man ; fond of his wife, fond of his only son, and a staunch 
supporter of Church and State. 

His ancestral domain was called Hartshill, and he lived at 
Hartshill Castle. 

The Honourable Ashley Leigh, who was his only child, held 
a captain's commission in the army, and was deservedly popular 
with all who knew him. 

Lord Cariston was tall, thin, and of ascetic appearance, 
much given to reading sermons and religious literature gene- 
rally. His hair was gray, rather with thought than age. 

He was not talkative, always priding himself upon his reserve, 
and -weighing carefully all that he said, saying that he should 
have to give an account of every idle word. 

Mr. Ashley Leigh was the direct opposite of his father. 

Tall, handsome, with short, curly black hair, gracefully 
brushed back from his forehead; always carefully dressed, 
though lie never wore anything vulgar or ostentatious, his 
manner was at once cheerful and winning. 

He was tin- idol of his mother, who regarded him as the 
support and consolation of her old age. 

lb' had been with his regiment in Ireland for some months, 
and, as In- expected to be ordered to Canada ill the spring, he 
applied for and obtained leave of absence, intending to spend 
the festive season of Christmas with his parents at Hartshill 
Castle. 

lb; had an additional object in wishing to return to 
3Iidlandshire. 

627666 " s 



2 HELD IN THRALL. 

An old house, delightfully situated at the foot of a hill, 
which protected it from the chilling blasts of the east and 
north winds, belonged to Lord Cariston, and was let by him 
to an old friend named Ingledew. 

Built in the Elizabethan style, fitted with old-fashioned, 
quaint furniture, it exactly suited a gentleman who had been 
all his life engaged in antiquarian research. 

When Mr. Ingledew, a widower, having but a moderate 
income, settled down near his old college friend, Lord 
Cariston, at Heart's Content, he hoped that the remaining 
portion of his life would glide peacefully away. Like the 
Lord of Hartshill, he had but one child, a daughter. 

Marian Ingledew was very lovely, though she belonged to 
that impulsive, baby-faced, fair-haired class of women, who 
cannot be said to resemble any distinct, well-recognised type 
of beauty. 

Her features were neither Grecian nor Roman, but the 
expression which lighted up her round, rosy, good-tempered 
countenance was winning in the extreme. 

Marian had a governess who presented a striking contrast 
to her. 

Mona Seafield was of the middle height, dark as the night, 
with black flashing eyes, whose liquid depths seemed to be 
the repositories of more than one secret. Her features were 
regular, and her expression cold and repellant ; at times she 
was so stern that she seemed cut out of marble. There was no 
warmth in her manner, nothing friendly in the grasp of her 
limp, moist hand. In a word, she was to all both distant and 
severe. The colour she most affected in dress was black, and 
it became her well. 

To those with whom she sojourned, and who did not know 
her well, Miss Seafield was an enigma, which it was hopeless 
to attempt to solve. 

But beneath that icy surface there burned the fierce fire of 
ambition. 

To raise herself above the necessity of working — for work 
with her was a necessity, her parents being very poor, though, 
of genteel extraction — and to compel others to render her the 
homage due to rank and wealth, Mona would have sold herself 
to the powers of darkness. 

At Heart's Content she lived a quiet, uneventful, unsatis- 
factory life. 



JEALOUSY. 3 

Her pupil was gentle and compliant; never contradicting 
her, and diligently learning that which she had engaged to 
teach her. 

Marian Ingledew and tbe Honourable Ashley Leigh had 
grown up together as playfellows and sweethearts. 

The intimacy of their childhood had ripened into love. 

It was with a terrible sorrow at heart, that Mona Seafield 
beheld the growth of their attachment, for she had flattered 
herself that she could win the affections of the handsome 
officer, and make herself the admired mistress of Hartshill Castle. 

Lord Cariston could not live many years ; and at his death 
— if she could succeed in marrying his son — she would 
accomplish the object of her ambition, and be the proud 
possessor of a coronet. 

It was the beirinninjr of December. 

The country was attired in its winter garb, though no snow 
had as yet fallen. Cold winds checked vegetation, and sharp 
frosts had denuded the most hardy trees of their leaves. 

Heart's Content was surrounded with shrubberies, filled 
with evergreens, and its walls were here and there covered 
with ivy, which saved it from that abomination of desolation 
which an ordinary plain brick building would have presented. 

One morning after breakfast, Marian Ingledew was engaged 

• J? •%• i m a • ^ DO 

in feeding the robins, which always came to the dining-room 
window to receive this mark of attention from the fair hands 
of their mistress. 

She wore an abstracted air. and Mona Seafield had to 
speak twice before she arrested her attention. 

' So Mr. Leigh has arrived at the castle, dear ? ' she said. 

' Yes,' answered Marian, with a start ; ' he came back from 
Ireland yesterday, bis note informs me, and we may expect 
him to-day.' 

'In that case, I suppose I must not be very exacting,' said 
Miss Seafield, with a forced smile. ' We will put Verdi and 
Goethe on one side till the afternoon, or to-morrow. I can 
Bee you wish to be alone and ([uiet, in anticipation of his visit.' 

'Oli, Mona,' cried the young girl, throwing her arms 
affectionately round the neck of her governess, 'you arc so 

kind, m> thoughtful. I have DO Secretfl from you. I have 

told you bow 1 love him, and how dearly, I have every reason 
to believe, he loves me. It is such pleasure to see him again 
after a long absence, which but precedes one longer still.' 

b a 



4 HELD IN THRALL. 

' Longer still ? ' repeated Mona, with an inquiring glance. 

' Yes ; the regiment is under orders for Canada in the 
spring.' 

' Indeed ! that is news I did not expect.' 

' You ? ' said Marian, rather sharply, resuming her position 
by the window. ' In what way can Mr. Leigh's movements 
possibly interest you ? ' 

' Only as your friend, my dear child,' answered the gover- 
ness, with hypocritical calmness. 

Marian again became absent, and renewed the attention she 
had been paying the robins. 

Miss Seafield reminded her pupil that she might look upon 
the day as her own, and retired to her room, which, being 
fond of privacy and seclusion, was a favourite retreat with her. 

In truth she wanted an interval of rest as much as did 
Marian. 

Her evil passions were surging high in her heart ; her tem- 
pestuous nature was threatening to burst through her outside 
calm. 

The Honourable Ashley Leigh would, she feared, offer his 
hand to Miss Ingledew, and then, adieu to all her dreams of 
ambition and aggrandisement. 

It was to think how she could frustrate this dire calamity 
that she wished to be alone. 

When she compared her appearance with that of her pupil, 
she decided that she was infinitely more worthy of a man's 
attention. 

' I am superior to her in all,' she murmured. ' Is it because 
I am a dependant that he shows me scant courtesy, and never 
breathes a word of love.' 

Had it not been for a latent hope that Mr. Leigh would 
some day become conscious of her charms, the ambitious 
governess would not, for several years, have borne the 
unvarying monotony of Heart's Content. 

To teach others is always a disagreeable, and frequently a 
thankless task, but when the one who teaches hates the one 
who learns it becomes repulsive to the last degree. 

While in her chamber, which overlooked the drive leading 
to Heart's Content, Mona Seafield heard the sound of carriage 
wheels grating upon the gravel. 

She was brushing her long, glossy, black hair, which hung 
in wavy masses over her neck and shoulders. Hastily 



JEALOUST. 5 

arranging it, she looked out of the window, and beheld the 
handsome form of the young soldier, who was in the act of 
throwing the reins to his groom, previous to alighting. 

Some one else had seen him, too. 

Marian Ingledew had been on the watch. 

She hastened to meet him, saying, as he shook her hand 
warmly — 

' How kind of you to come over to Heart's Content, so soon 
after your arrival.' 

' Where had I a better right to pay a first visit ? ' asked the 
young man, smiling. 

In the drawing-room they saw Mr. Ingledew, who was 
examining, through a microscope, a peculiarly-shaped bone, 
which one of his labourers had dug up. 

1 Ah ! my young friend,' he said, extending his hand, but 
not quitting the table, which stood before the window. ' Glad 
to see you back again. Poor Marian has been fretting 
dreadfully at your absence.' 

' Oh, papa ! ' ejaculated Marian, pouting her rosy lips. 

' Do you deny it ? ' asked her father. 

' What have you there, sir ? ' asked Ashley Leigh, hastening 
to relieve Marian of the embarrassment which her heightened 
colour showed him she was feeling. ' Something curious or 
rare, I imagine?' 

' I scarcely know what it is as yet,' replied Mr. Ingledew. 
1 The formation is so very peculiar. It was found by one of 
my men, near the abbey, and I am strongly inclined to regard 
it as the os fcmoris, or thigh-bone, of an ancient Briton.' 

For fully a quarter of au hour Mr. Ingledew continued to 
talk to the young man, having started upon his favourite 
hobby. 

When he could, however, without offending him, break 
away, he did so, and rejoined Marian, who, on this occasion, 
took little interest in the remarks of the antiquary. 

' I buried an old pony, close to the spot your father speaks of, 
years ago,' said Ashley Leigh, in a low tone, to Marian, 'and 
I verily believe they have dug up the bones.' 

'Surely, ho would know the difference between human and 
animal remains,' replied Marian, smiling, however, in spite of 
herself. 

Withdrawing into an embrasure of the window, the lovers 
talked without interruption. 



6 HELD IN THRALL. 

4 1 bring you an invitation to spend Christmas at the castle,' 
said Ashley Leigh ; ' you will not refuse it, for my sake, I 
know.' 

Marian murmured her thanks. 

Noticing an expression of sadness which suddenly overcast 
her features, he earnestly inquired the cause. 

' You are going away so soon,' she replied. ' It seems so 
hard to lose you.' 

* My darling,' he said, in a fond voice, ' you have given me 
the opportunity I have been longing for. If you love me as I 
love you, we will never be separated again. Wherever I go 
you shall accompany me. Be mine, dearest. Say but the 
little word which will make you mine, and Ave need never part 
again.' 

Her head fell upon his shoulder, and she uttered a few words, 
which were scarcely intelligible, but which her lover construed 
into an acceptation of his suit. His lips sought hers, and he 
implanted a burning kiss to seal the compact. 

At this moment a noise as if of the rustling of a dress was 
heard, and starting to an upright position, once more Marian 
beheld Mona Seafield. 

The governess had been watching the lovers for some time, 
having entered the room unperceived. 

She could not bear to see this happiness, and an involuntary 
movement had betrayed her presence. Marian just caught a 
glimpse of her face before she had time to alter its expression. 

It haunted her for a long — long time afterwards ; so fierce, 
so cruel, so relentless, so revolting was it. 

The next moment Mona was smilingly shaking hands with 
the Honourable Ashley Leigh, talking like a woman of the 
world, about Ireland and other places, and asking him a multi- 
tude of everyday questions about commonplace things. 

No trace of the implacable hatred which had rested upon 
her face remained. 

Marian began to think she must have been mistaken. 

Mr. Leigh stayed to lunch, and extracted a promise from 
Mr. Ingledew, that he would accept Lord and Lady Cariston's 
invitation, and spend Christmas at the castle. 

He also ceremoniously extended the invitation to Miss 
Seafield, without whom he thought Marian would, perhaps, 
be lonely. 

When taking leave of Marian, he remarked to her — 



JEALOUSY. 



1 What a charming, well-informed woman Miss Seafield is ! 
Quite a treasure to you, of course, although you are old 
enough and sufficiently accomplished to do without a 



governess. 



' Yes,' replied Marian, ' she is more of a companion than 
anything else ; hut, agreeable as she can make herself, I fear 
her at times.' 

'Fear her,' echoed Ashley Leigh, with a laugh ; ' she seems 
the gentlest of her sex.' 

' Ah ! you do not know her as I do. You have not seen — 
but no matter. She is scarcely worth a difference of opinion 
between you and I, dear Ashley.' 

Marian spoke with some bitterness, for the tone of eulogy 
which her affianced lover had adopted in speaking of the 
governess had grated harshly on her ears. 
' I meant no harm, my pet,' said Mr. Leigh. 
' Do not excuse yourself or I shall think you do,' answered 
Marian, glad of an opportunity to employ that tyranny which 
most newly-engaged girls like to show to their lovers. 

Ashley Leigh avoided the subject, talked about something 
else, and was quickly driving home. 

While Marian lingered in the porch, a boy came up to her 
and said — 

' If you please, miss, I was sent by Daddy Chiverton to say 
as how his missus was took worse, and would you come and 
see her.' 

'Very well — I will attend to it,' answered Miss Ingledew, 
giving the boy a gratuity. 

She was not then in a mood to minister to her sick poor, 
though she was of a charitable deposition, and had acquired 
an excellent character in the neighbourhood for visiting them 
in their homes, and supplying them with religious instruction, 
good advice, and creature comforts. 

Mrs. Chiverton was an old woman, the wife of a farm 
labourer, who had been ill for some time. 

Miinii Seafield knew this, as she had accompanied Marian 
to the cottage. 

Seeking the governess, Marian said — 

1 Will you oblige me by packing up a few things and taking 
them to the Chivertous' cottage I I have just received a 
message to say that the poor old woman is vroi 
'Will you not go yourself/' asked Mona. 



8 HELD IN THRALL. 

'No, not now, my — my head aches,' answered Marian, 
inventing an excuse. 

Mona smiled inwardly and promised compliance. 

She began to make her preparations slowly, but suddenly 
hurried her movements. 

An idea had occurred to her. 

i This is inspiration,' she muttered, ' all may yet be 
retrieved. "Wealth, position, rank, even Hartshill Castle may 
be mine.' 

Hastily attiring herself, she set out on her journey, with a 
basket on her arm, and took the way which led to Daddy 
Chiverton's cottage. 



CHAPTER IL 

Tin: plot. 

Daddy Chiverton was a bad character. 

The truth must be told, and we must admit that he would 
not work if he could help it : was fonder of the public- 
house parlour than his own fireside ; and had, more than once, 
been convicted for poaching. 

His wife was one of those poor, weak, silly women, who 
from the hour of their birth to that of their death never dream 
of having a will of their own. 

She was always dependent upon some one. First of all she 
clung to her mother, and then her husband, Avho ruled 
her with a rod of iron, claimed her obedience and her 
services. 

Their son was just the sort of young man who could be 
expected of such parent-. 

He was not altogether without his share of good looks, and 
was what is called clever. 

But he was idle, dissolute, and worthless. 

The keepers on Lord Cariston's estate strongly suspected 
him of following in his father's footsteps, and in truth he 
brought many a hare, pheasant, and rabbit into his mother's 
kitchen. 

As yet he had not been caught. 

Lady Cariston often' gave the Chivcrtons presents of money 
and food. 

In doing this she was actuated by a recollection that Mary 
Chiverton had nursed her son, the Honourable Ashley Leigh, 
and, consequently, that he and Darby Chiverton were foster- 
brothers. 

When Bliss Seafield arrived at the cottage, she saw smoke 

curling up through t lie trees, with whieh it was BIUTOUndedt 

The thatch had grown thin in places, but Daddy Chiverton 
would never bestow an hour or two's work to mending it. 

Old rags were staffed into broken window panes, holes in 

the ground in front of the cottage, which had been made by 



10 HELD IN THRALL. 

the pigs and fowls, were, for want of filling up, receptacles 
for muddy water, and she had to step carefully to avoid 
wetting her feet. Tapping at the door with her knuckles, she 
lifted the latch and walked in. 

The son, Darby, was out ; engaged, perhaps, in some pre- 
datory excursion. 

Mary, the old woman, who was so seriously ill, was in a 
bed, which had been let into an alcove in the wall. Sitting by 
the fire was her husband, smoking a short pipe, and resting 
his elbows on his knees and his head on his hands. 

Mona placed her basket on the table and proceeded to un- 
pack it, saying as she did so — 

' Miss Ingledew has sent you a few little things which she 
thought would be acceptable to your wife. She would have 
come herself had she felt well enough.' 

The old woman mumbled her thanks, and Daddy Chiverton, 
dusting a dilapidated chair with his hand, offered it to his 
visitor. 

' Do you find yourself better, my good woman 1 ' asked 
Mona, approaching the bedside. 

' No, miss, thank you. I'm much worse ; I've no strength. 
The doctor says the cold weather that's coming on will kill me. 
My cough's so bad.' 

As if to prove the truth of this assertion she began to cough 
violently. Suffocation seemed imminent ; but when the fit 
was over, she fell back upon the pillow exhausted, breathing 
hoarsely. 

Mona gave her a little jelly and some weak port wine and 
water, which did her a little good. 

Soon afterwards her eyes closed and she fell asleep. Taking 
the chair Daddy Chiverton had offered her, Mona placed it 
near the wood fire which burned in the grate, and sat down. 

The old man was about to withdraw his chair from the 
chimney corner, as a mark of respect, when Mona prevented 
him. 

1 Stay where you are,' she said, with the air and voice of one 
who knew how to command. ' I wish to speak to you.' 

Chiverton fancied that he was about to have a lecture about 
his wicked ways, the wretched, worthless life he led, and the 
evil example he set his son. Deprecating this infliction, he 
said — 

' I know I'm a hardened old sinner, miss. But it's no kind 



THE PLOT. 11 

of use talking to me. As I have lived I shall die. Better let 
me he. I don't want to say anything rude. You're kind to 
my missus, and heaven knows the poor old soul wants it 
badly.' 

' You mistake me,' said Mona, impatiently. ' I have not 
come to talk in that way.' 

At this declaration Daddy Chiverton let his pipe fall from 
his mouth in great surprise, aud it was hroken into small 
pieces on the hearth. 

'I repeat, I want to talk to you,' continued Mona. 'Listen 
to me, and answer my questions without any roundabout fuss.' 

' Yes, miss,' replied Daddy, with alacrity. 

' Your wife, I believe, nursed the Honourable Ashley 
Leigh ? ' 

* Lord and Lady Cariston's son. She did.' 

' In that case they are foster-brothers.' 

'Just so, miss,' answered Daddy Chiverton, looking curi- 
ously at her out of the corner of his eyes, and wondering what 
she meant. 

1 1 had a dream last night,' Mona went on, in a low voice, 
gazing at the fire, and talking slowly, as if to herself. 'I 
thought that you aud your wife laid a plot, which might be of 
service to you in your old age. When the peer's son was 
brought to you, he was very much like your own boy, and you 
determined to change the children. That is to say, when the 
boy went back to the castle : it was your sou and not Lady 
Cariston's baby.' 

Daddy Chiverton drew a long breath. 

' It might have been dune,' he said. ' It's a pity it wasn't.' 

' I tell you it was dune! ' replied Mona, sharply. 

' Was ! ' 

'Attend to me. I have not concluded my dream yet. It 
appeared to me, in my sleep, that your wife's conscience 

pricked her on her death-bed, and she could not die without 
rendering justice to the boy whom she had kept out of his 
inheritance. Accordingly, when at the point of death, she 

sent, for a clergyman and made a confession, lie, in his turn, 

sent for two justices of the peace, who attested it.' 
She paused a moment. 
' Yes, miss, yes,' replied Daddy Chiverton, trembling with 

excitement, and bending forward to catch every word she 
let fall. 



12 HELD IN THRALL. 

' When the news was brought to Lady Cariston,' resumed 
Mona, ' she refused to credit the story, but Lord Cariston, 
who is an extremely conscientious man, believed it implicitly 
and determined to do justice. The rightful heir was intro- 
duced to every one, and from a peasant's son, Darby became 
the presumptive owner of Hartshill Castle, and the broad 
acres attached to it.' 

'And of course he took care of his poor old father, who 
never wanted for anything,' said Chiverton, finishing the story 
after his own selfish fashion. 

' You seem to recollect the circumstances now,' said Mona, 
fixing her searching eyes upon him. 

' The changing of the children ! ' replied Daddy Chiverton. 
' Of course I do, miss. It's all as plain as daylight. Mr. 
Ashley Leigh is my real son, and Darby Chiverton is the only 
child of Lord and Lady Cariston.' 

' That is it exactly,' replied Mona, with a satisfied smile. 

A restless movement in the bed showed that Mary Chiver- 
ton was awaking. 

' Go to your wife. Talk this matter over,' said Miss 
Seafield. ' I will wait here, for I must see your son before 
I go.' 

' He will be back soon,' answered Daddy. ' He's only gone 
to visit the snares. You see we're so poor, miss, that a rabbit 
or a brace of birds ' 

' Don't stand there, whining and snivelling about being 
poor to me ! ' cried Mona, impatiently. ' Have I not told you 
how to obtain money ? ' 

' I beg your pardon, miss. It's a way I've got. Years 
of poverty and ' 

' Go and talk to your wife,' interrupted Mona, with a 
decided air. 

He went to the bedside and talked for a long time earnestly 
to his better-half, who, though weak and ill, and near death's 
door, still had the possession of her faculties. 

As wc have said, she knew no will but her husband's. 

After a while Daddy Chiverton came to Miss Seafield 
and said — 

' If you please, she wants to see you.' 

Going to the sick woman, Mona said, leaning over the 
bed— 

' Has your husband told you what you ought to do ? ' 



THE PLOT. 13 

' Yes, but I'm not quite clear about it. My bead's weak. 
Will you talk to me ? ' 

Bfona went over tbe ground again, and concluded by 
saying — 

' It is only an act of justice which you ought — which you 
must do. You know yourself that you caunot live ; and by 
following my advice, you will make your husband and your son 
independent of the world.' 

1 What are you to get for all this ? ' asked the woman, 
pointedly. 

1 That is my business,' answered Moua, drily. 

' Have you got her promise ? ' said Daddy Chiverton, 
gruffly. ' She'd better make it, if she doesn't want to die with 
my curse ringing in her ears.' 

'Oh, David!' cried the poor woman ; 'I'll promise, I'll do 
anythiug you wish. I never did disobey you yet. I'll do it. 
Only tell me what I am to do. Don't curse me. Don't, don't. 
I couldn't bear it.' 

Daddy Chiverton smiled grimly. 

Biona talked to the woman for some minutes, in a clear but 
low voic I, 

She was giving her her lesson. 

Just as she had concluded the door was thrown violently 
open, and Darby entered, with his pockets stuffed full of 
game. 

He drew back on seeing Miss Seafield. 

' Take your hat off, you cub,' Baid bis father. 'Don't you 
see there is a lady here.' 

' Fine f'olk> limit keep us,' growled the promising youth. 

'You always was a bad one, Darby,' replied his father. 
' It's a crying shame I did not leather you more when you was 
youn^.' 

• (utiic here, if you please,' said Mona, wishing to put a stop 
to the Btorm which was brewing between father and son. ' I 
want td have a little conversation with you.' 

'With me?' 

' Ye>, with you. Take this chair.' 

He obeyed, awkwardly enough. He would have refused if 
he could; but there was that in Mona's manner which con- 
strained him to comply with her re»pie>t. 

In about tin minutes she bad made him thoroughly 

.acquainted with the details of her daring scheme. 



14 HELD IN THRALL. 

( Now,' she added, ' it depends entirely upon you whether 
you will continue in the sort of life you are leading, or whether 
you will be a gentleman and acquire a position.' 

It was very tempting to Darby Chiverton. 

' I should like to be a fine gentleman,' he said ; ' why should 
I not?' 

'Why, indeed?' 

'One man is as good as another. It's only education and 
mixing with a different set that has made Mr. Ashley Leigh 
what he is. I can shoot as "well and ride as well as he can.' 

' You consent?' she demanded, a little nervously. 

' I do,' he answered. 

' Very well. Now tell me how long it will take you to go 
into the town ? ' 

The town was called Stanton, distant about two miles. 

' And back again ? ' he queried. 

' Of course.' 

' About an hour.' 

' Go, if you please, to the stationer's and buy a bill stamp. 
I will write down the amount I want it for.' 

' What for 1 ' 

'You will see on your return.' 

With some difficulty a bottle of muddy ink was found and 
an indifferent pen. 

With these she wrote something on a piece of dirty paper j 
and giving Darby some money, saw him start on his errand. 

* Be cautious,' she said in an admonitory whisper ; ' say 
nothing to anybody. Keep your own counsel always.' 

He nodded, and was gone. 

The time passed wearily until he came back. Neither Mona 
or Daddy Chiverton were in the humour for conversation. 

The silence was only broken by the howling of the wind 
outside, the crackling of the logs on the fire, and the hacking 
cough of the poor woman who was lying in the bed. 

When Darby returned he drew a paper from his pocket, and 
handed it to Miss Seafield, who said — 

' Did you bring the scrap on which I wrote what I wanted ? ' 

He shook his head. 

' That was a mistake ; but it does not much matter. If we 
are clever, no one will take the trouble to rake up evidence 
against us. Can you write ? ' 

Darby answered in the affirmative. 



THE PLOT. 15 

Miss Seafield told him what to put on the paper and where 
to si<m his name. He did all she ordered him. When the 
document was made a legal obligation to pay a certain sum, 
she held it to the fire to dry, aud said -. 

"By this promissory note you undertake to give me, in three 
months, the sum of five thousand pounds. If Ave are suc- 
cessful, of course you can do it without any difficulty. If not, 
it will be so much _\\a-te paper, and you need not trouble 
yourself about it.' 

'That is quite fair,' answered Darby, lo. iking at her hand- 
some face aud symmetrical ligure with admiring eyes. 

'Now,' she said, ' I hope you quite understand what you 
have to do.' 

'Quite,' answered father and son, in a breath ; then lowering 
her voice, she went on, pointing to the bed — 

'That poor creature cannot last long. To-night, perhaps, 
while she is sensible enough, it will be as well for you to send 
for Mr. Champneys, the clergyman, and let him receive her 
confession that the children were changed. Her motive is 
this : she feels she cannot die without doing justice to the real 
Mr. Leigh ; although by so acting she reduces her own son to 
comparative beggary.' 
Then she rose to go. 

Wrapping her plaid shawl closely around her, she prepared 

to retrace her steps to Heart's Content. ,,, «^ 

'If you were at all a lady's man, Mr. Darby,' she said, with 

a seductive smile, ' you would oiler to see me part of the way 

home.' 

' If I may make so bold ? ' 
' Of course you may.' 

He emptied his poaching coat of the game its pockets con- 
tained, not caring now whether .Miss Seaiield saw what his 
occupation had been or not, aud putting on his felt hat, 
accompanied her. 

She took his arm, and a strange thrill ran through him. 
Never before had he been so near to a well-dressed, hand- 
some lady. 

Often he had hung about the passage of the castle with the 
servants, catching ;i glimpse now and then oi the gay crowd, 

when a ball or a party was given \>y the noble OWneM "t 
Hartshill. 

Often had he longed to make one ol the fashionable throng 



16 HELD IN THRALL. 

and cursed the hard fate which condemned him to the life of a 
day labourer. 

Mona felt him tremble, as her little baud rested upon the 
sleeve of his velveteen jacket, and from that moment she knew 
that she could do as she liked with him. 

During this short walk to Heart's Content, she drew a vivid 
picture of the delights which awaited him, in the new sphere 
to which she was about to translate him, with a rapidity equal 
to that of a magician's wand. 

She cautioned him, too, and advised him to act circum- 
spectly, dinning over and over again into his ears the lesson 
she had given all of them in the cottage. 

'You will find life much pleasanter,' she said ; 'plenty of 
money, and all the luxuries which unlimited wealth can 
command, will bring you such happiness as you have never 
yet dreamed of. If you want beauty, you will find it at your 
feet. But perhaps you have some rustic sweetheart? ' 

Darby emphatically assured her that such was not the case. 

He had always felt, he said, that he was destined to some- 
thing better than his present lot, and consequently looked 
higher. 

' Ah, well,' said Mona, with a sigh ; ' we shall see you 
marrying some lady of rank.' 

' No, indeed ! ' he answered, breathing heavily. ' If I dared 
— that is, if you would not be angry with me, I ' 

' Here we are, close to Heart's Content ! ' said Mona, in- 
terrupting him. ' I must wish you good-bye. It will not be 
well for us to be seen together.' 

Pressing his hand, she favoured him with another bewitching 
smile, and tripped lightly away, leaving him standing still, as 
if overwhelmed. 

' The simpleton ! ' she murmured. ' He would have pro- 
posed to me on the spot. Not yet, I must see how the plot 
works, and what compensating advantages he can offer me for 
such a sacrifice. Ugh ! the night makes one shudder.' 

On entering the house, Mona tried to glide up to her 
bedroom unperceived, but she met Marian Ingledew on the 
stairs. 

' What a long time you have been ! ' she said. 

' Yes, dear. I stayed to read the Bible to the poor old 
woman, who is very ill indeed: and after that I took a long 
walk. Is your headache better 1 ' 



THE PLOT. 17 

'A little,' answered Marian drily, retiring to her chamber. 

Miss Ingledcw did not like her governess that day so much 
B8 -he had done formerly. 

The Honourable Ashley Leigh had, she fancied, spoken 
admiringly of her, and .-la' was slightly jealous. 



C 



13 



CHAPTER III. 

STRANGE NEWS. 

While Miss Seafield was dressing for dinner Marian put her 
head in at the door, and said — 

'I forgot to tell you, that Mr. Champneys and Doctcr 
Hawkins are expected to-night.' 

' Thank you, dear ! ' said Mona, in a quiet, condescending 
manner. 

When she reached the drawing-room, she found Mr. Ingledew 
talking to his guests, who had arrived. 

Miss Seafield was always treated by the master of Heart's 
Content as one of the family. 

'It's so dreadful for a governess to be made to feel her 
position,' he would say, generously. 

Mona was never in better spirits, she laughed and chatted 
gaily ; being really a well-informed woman, and quite at her 
ease in the best society, she was a general favourite. 

She could talk to Mr. Fleurus Champneys about the high 
church movement, just as well as she could discourse with 
Doctor Hawkins about the poor of the parish, and the latest 
discoveries in medicine. 

It was Miss Ingledew's custom to retire soon after the 
dessert was placed upon the table ; to allow the gentlemen to 
sit over their wine, and talk politics. 

She was about to do so, when a servant entered, saying that 
Doctor Hawkins was wanted at Daddy Chiverton's cottage. 

'I'll just run over,' he said, 'and come back again, though I 
don't suppose I can do much good in that quarter. The old 
woman was sinking fast when I left her yesterday.' 

He had scarcely got his great coat on, when another mes- 
senger came from the clergyman's house, saying his presence 
was also required at Daddy Chiverton's cottage. The wife 
Avas dying, and she wanted to see the parson before she passed 
away. 

' In that case, doctor, we can go together ! ' said Mr. 
Champneys. 



STRANGE NEWS. 19 

' Certainly. Glad of your company ! ' replied Mr. Hawkins. 

For several hours Mr. Ingledew awaited their return ; but 
as he did not see them, he, being an early man, went to bed, 
having given them up. 

Our story now takes us to Ilartshill Castle — a venerable pile, 
built in the early Norman Btyle of architecture, and still pre- 
serving its distinguishing features, though it had been con- 
siderably altered and added to by the various Lords of 
Cariston. 

As soon as breakfasl was over, Lord Cariston was informed 
that the Rev. Fleurus Champneys wished to see him. 

' Wants my advice about a church-rate, or some parochial 
matter, I suppose!' thought his lordship, as he told the 
domestic to show him into his study. 

After the greeting was over, the clergyman said — 

' I have come upon very peculiar business, my lord. So 
peculiar, in fact, that I scarcely know how to begin my story.' 

'Indeed !' said Lord Cariston, elevating his eyebrows. 

'I had better be circumstantial, I think.' 

'If you please.' 

'Last night I was dining with Mr. Ingledew at Heart's 
Conteut. After dinner I was sent for by David Chivertou, 
whose wife was dying.' 

' Nothing very extraordinary about that,' said Lord Cariston, 
with a smile. ' She has been dying for the last two years.' 

' Slie is gone at last.' 

'Poor creature! Well, we must all die some day. Go on, 
Champneys.' 

• Before her death she made a confession, which I have in 

my ] k't. I sent for two justices of the peace, in whose 

presence ii was read over to the old woman, and duly attested. 
They were Sir Temple Irving and Mr. George Pottinger. 
Here is the document. If you will cast your eye over it, the 
matter will be more plain to you.' 

'To me? How can it possibly interest me'' asked his 

lordship, fidgetting nervously in bis pocket for his spectacles. 

* Ton will sec.' 

With these words Mr. Fleurus Champneys handed Lord 

Cariston a Bheel of foolscap paper, on which was written about 

a dozen lines. 

His lordship read it, at first with some carelessne -, and 
afterwards with trembling eagi rn< 

. 'J 



20 HELD IN THRALL. 

He read it twice, as if fearful of having mistaken its import. 

Then laying it down on the table, and his spectacles on it, 
he said — 

' This is grave, very grave.' 

Mr. Champneys quite concurred with him. 

'If this be the truth,' he pointed to the confession, 'it 
follows that I have been cherishing the wrong man. Is it not 
so ? It is as clear as daylight that Ashley Leigh is a peasant's 
son, and that Darby — isn't that the name? ' 

'Itis.' 

' That Darby is really my child. That is the case — eh ? ' 

'Yes ; in a nutshell.' 

' As you say, in a nutshell. Now, tell me, Champneys, are 
you my friend ? ' 

' I hope so, my lord.' 

' I know it. I have proved it, ever since I presented you 
with the living of Stanton. Now, tell me, have you any 
reason to doubt the truthfulness of this old woman's dying 
confession 1 ' 

' None whatevei',' answered Mr. Champneys. ' I never 
heard anything more truthfully revealed. There w T as no flaw 
or discrepancy in her statement. What she advanced she 
adhered to strictly. She declared that she had changed the 
children, sending her own child to the castle, and keeping the 
one entrusted to her care to nurse. There were no distinguish- 
ing marks on either, so the fraud was easily perpetrated.' 

Lord Cariston paced the room uneasily. 

Stopping suddenly opposite the clergyman, he said — 

' I cannot help showing some emotion, Champneys, for I 
have got to love the boy. Ashley has twined himself around 
my heart. But I — advise me, old friend. Tell me what I 
ought to do.' 

Mr. Fleurus Champneys reflected a moment. 

' You must do your duty,' he said, at length. 

'And that is?' 

'Maka reparation to your own flesh and blood for the wrong 
that has been done him.' 

' Yes, you are right,' replied Lord Cariston . ' I am sorry — 
very sorry for Ashley. I wonder, too, how my poor wife will 
take it. He is quite his mother's boy. But you are right, 
Champneys. Justice must and shall be done. Will you break 
it to Ashley while 1 go and talk to Lady Cariston.' 



STRANGE NEWS. 21 

Mr. Champneys proposed to do so, aud the two men 
separated. 

One went to seek Mr. Ashley Leigh, the other proceeded to 
the apartment of Lady Cariston. 

Her ladyship was in her boudoir, which opened on to a 
conservatory, attached to which was an aviary. Lady 
Cariston's two hobbies were flowers and birds. She was 
engaged in picking the dead leaves from a geranium, when her 
husband's voice aroused her, saying — 

' Come here, my dear, for an instant ; I must speak to you.'| 

It was seldom that Lord Cariston used such imperative 
language, and her ladyship obeyed the command in some 
trepidation. 

' How white you look ! ' she exclaimed. ' What has 
happened ?" 

' Our son is not our son,' he answered. 

'I cannot understand enigmas. You know that!' she 
exclaimed. ' Why keep me in suspense ? Be explicit, for good- 
ness sake.' 

In a low voice Lord Cariston informed !her of what had 
happened, and he ended by placing the confession in her hand. 

She threw it angrily on one side, crying — 

'I won't read it. 1 don't believe a word of it. The thing 
has been got up by those people.' 

' How could such simple people as these cottagers get up 
such a plot;' replied Lord Cariston. ' No, my dear; unpala- 
table ae it may be to us to do so, we must believe it. Justice 
must be done. We must have Darby, or Ashley, as he 
ought to be called, here. After Christinas we can engage a 
tutor for him, and send him abroad to be polished by foreign 
travel. Ashley we shall always treat as a dear friend, if not 
ae a relative; hut he must at once recognize the fact that my 
title can never he his, and that he [a not the heir to 1 lartshill.' 

4 That is your decision .' ' said his wife. 

' My inviolable decision.' 

A deep sob Startled them. 

Looking round they beheld Ashley, who had broken away 
from Mr. Ohampneya, on hearing the news, and had indig- 
nantly ruahed to hie father and mother, to demand the truth of 
the strange intelligence. 

fie heard the latter part of hi- lather'- Speech, and the 
'inviolable decision ' had .-truck like a knell OD Ids heart. 



22 IlflLD IN THRALL. 

It was very hard to be dispossessed of title, home, and 
fortune at a single blow, for he was much too proud to stay in 
a place which did not belong to him, and be dependent on the 
bounty of those upon whom he had no claim. 

' My poor boy,' said Lord Cariston, turning round and 
wringing his hand. 

Recovering himself by a violent effort, Ashley exclaimed — 

'What am I to understand from what Mr. Champueys has 
told me ? Is this wild, improbable story to be believed ] Am 
I the son of a peasant? ' 

' The proofs are incontestable,' answered Lord Cariston. 

< Tell me all' 

Lord Cariston, as deliberately as possible, communicated the 
facts of the singular case as he knew them himself. 

He assured Ashley that he would always retain his affection> 
and that the allowance he now received should be continued ; 
while Hartshill Castle should ever be a home for him. 

Ashley shook his head mournfully. 

' Is it possible that the ties of kindred are so weak, that you 
will act thus ? ' asked Lady Cariston. 

' They are so strong that I am going to do a simple act of 
justice,' was the reply. 

Lord Cariston left the boudoir to rejoin Mr. Champneys, and 
concert the proper measures to be taken in the emergency. 

The mother and son were left together. 

Throwing her arms round his neck her ladyship exclaimed, 
with tears in her eyes — 

' I will never, never believe this strange story. Trust me, 
that I will unravel this mystery somehow.' 

Ashley became calm and collected, and talked for a con- 
siderable time with his mother. 

In the afternoon he packed up a few things in a bag, and 
left the castle without saying a word to any one. 

Mr. Champneys had gone away in the morning, but he 
returned to dinner. His first question was — 

' Where is Mr. Ashley, or Mr. Darby Chiverton, as I sup- 
pose I ought to call him ] ' 

'If you mean my son, sir,' replied Lady Cariston, coldly, 
1 he has gone to town, at least he announced his intention of 
doing so this morning.' 

' Gone to London ! ' ejaculated his lordship. 

'Certainly. The castle was no place for him after your 
decision this morning.' 



STRANG E NEWS. 23 

• Without saying a word to me ! ' 

' What had he to say ? ' 

'That is very odd!' said Sir Temple Irving, who was one 
of the guests. 'I could have declared that I saw Mr. Ashley 
Leigh talking to Thome, the gatekeeper, as I passed the lodge. 
The light of my carriage-lamps shone full upon him.' 

'Impossible!' said Lady Cariston, hastily. 

' So I apprehend, after your statement ; but it was a sin- 
gular illusion.' 

The following day Lord Cariston sent word to Daddy 
Chiverton, that he would see him and his son in three days. 
He was not yet prepared for the interview, the intelligence 
had been so sudden that he required time to collect his 
thoughts, and decide upon the course of action to be pursued. 

That was on Tuesday. 

On Wednesday afternoon, news was received at the castle 
that the body of a young man, frightfully mutilated, had been 
found on the metals of a railway near London. 

His linen was marked ' A. L.' There was some money 
found in his pocket, a cigar case, with a coronet and the 
initials 'A. L.,' and an envelope, addressed to the Honourable 
Ashley Leigh, Ilartshill Castle, near Stanton, Midlandshire. 

The face was so disfigured that it was impossible to 
recognise the features. 

The conclusion arrived at by everybody was, that Ashley 
Leigh had been so overcome by the intelligence of his low 
birth, that lie had committed suicide. Lady Cariston WBG 
silent, but calm. The shock appeared to affect her deeply, 
but did not show its effects much on the surface. 

As for lil— lordship, he was grieved, and became doubly 
anxious to 'do justice,' as he called it, to Darby Chiverton. 

After breakfast, on Thursday, Lord Cariston, who was 
momentarily expecting the arrival of Daddy Chiverton and 
Darby, sought his wife, to beg her to be present at the 
interview. 

She was in her conservatory as usual. On the carpet of 
the boudoir her husband picked up a letter, which he ventured 
to read. It ran thus — 

'Your ladyship will perceive that I have carried out your 
instructions to the letter. I hope everything has been done 

to your satisfaction. I accept your invitation, ami will 



24 HELD IN THRALL. 

arrive at the castle, for Christmas, in a week from this 
date. 

' I am your ladyship's faithful servant, 

'Hamley Morris. ; ' 
'Dec. 12th, 18—' 

Lady Cariston, hearing a noise, came out of her boudoir 
and flushed angrily at seeing her letter in her husband's hand. 

' Who is your correspondent, my dear ? ' he asked. ' I do 
not know the name.' 

' Oh ! perhaps not. He is a broker whom I have employed 
to transfer some stock which stands in my name. He is 
coming down for a week.' 

' So I perceive,' answered his lordship, drily. 

When she heard what he wanted her to do, she refused 
firmly. 

' I will receive him politely,' she said, ' If it be your 
determination to have him here, but I cannot recognise a 
peasant's son as my own. My grief for poor Ashley makes me 
wish to be as secluded as possible.' 

In vain Lord Cariston tried to persuade her. 

' I, too, am overwhelmed with grief,' he said. ' But the 
dreadful news requires confirmation.' 

A servant announced the arrival of father and son, and 
Lord Cariston hurried away to receive them. 



25 



CHAPTER IV. 

DOING JDSTICK. 

Lord Cariston, upon leaving his wife's boudoir proceeded to 
the library, where Daddy Chiverton and Darby were auxiously 
awaiting him. 

The interview was a long one. 

At the conclusion, Lord Cariston embraced Darby and 
invited him to come at once to take up his abode at the castle. 

He offered a substantial cottage to the old man, which was 
thankfully refused. 

' I like the old place, and I'll stick to it,' said Daddy, 
' though a trifle of money, my lord, would be acceptable.' 

' You shall have it,' answered Lord Cariston, going to a 
drawer, and cramming his hands full of sovereigns, without 
counting them. 

Darby ••aid he would come the next day ; he wanted to 
buy some clothes and other things at Stanton, which he 
thought would become his newly-found grandeur. 

The father and son left the castle highly satisfied with the 
result of their interview, and the generosity of Lord Cariston. 

Darby was publicly recognised as the Honourable Darhy 
Leigh. His Christian name he could not change. 

Everything had been highly successful. 

Much more so than they had expected. 

Daddy Chivertou had anticipated being bought off at a 
price. 

lie had received a line from Mona, in the morning, telling 
him to meet her, at midnight, at the ruins of the abbey, a spot 
half-way between Heart's Content and his own cottage. 

It was not sail- tin- them to lie seen together in the daytime. 

After Mr. Ingledew, his daughter, and the servants, had 
retired to rest, she slipped out of the house unobserved, and 
bent her steps towards the abbey. 

The ruins were well preserved, covered with ivy in places, 
and were considered most interesting relics of a bygone 
age. 



26 HELD IN THRALL. 

It was a fine night, and the soft moonlight shone in streams 
through the grand old windows, and flooded the grass-grown 
courts. 

Report said that the ground underneath was honeycombed 
with the vaults and subterranean passages made by the monks, 
who had lived there in days of yore. 

Mona thought nothing of that, though she started when 
she came suddenly upon the person of Daddy Chiverton, who 
was standing in the shadow. 

' A fine night,' he said, in a tone of familiarity, dropping 
the ' miss,' which he had always formerly used in addressing 
her. 

She was about to reply, when the distant sound of the 
midnight hour, borne along the frosty air from a clock at 
Heart's Content, fell upon their ears. 

At the same time Daddy Chiverton uttered a cry. 

It was an exclamation of alarm. 

Following the direction of his staring eyes, Mona beheld a 
sight which froze the blood in her veins. 

Some distance off, with his pallid face turned towards them, 
and passing from one portion of the ruins to the other, his 
figure well defined in the moonlight, was the well-known 
person of Ashley Leigh. 

They had both heard of his death. 

They both knew that they had, by their wicked ingenuity, 
hounded him on to the commission of the dreadful crime of 
suicide. 

That it was an apparition, Daddy Chiverton did not 
doubt. 

Mona, less credulous, dashed forward, but ere she reached 
the spot it was gone ; although she searched about in every 
direction, not a single trace of a human being could she see. 

Returning to Daddy Chiverton's side, she sat down on a 
block of moss-covered stone, trembling in every limb like an 
aspen. 

Her face was ghastly pale. 

In a short time the conspirators recovered from the conster- 
nation into which this extraordinary supernatural appearance 
had thrown them. 

But they conversed in whispers, as if they feared that 
shadowy, unsubstantial forms, floating in the air, might over- 
hear the dread secrets of which they were the mutual recipients* 



DOING JUSTICE. 27 

Daddy Chiverton informed Mona of all that had taken place, 
and of the success of the plot BO far. 

The governess impressed the nece-sity of caution upon him ; 
and he, perfectly content to be guided by her, promised 
compliance with her instructions. 

'I think I have nothing more to say at present,' said Mona. 
' Of course, we must not be seen together ; and if we have 
occasion to meet again. I will come to your cottage. This 
terrible collection of ruins frightens me, I know not why.' 

'They du tell -tiange tales of the olden times about it,' 
answered Daddy Chiverton. 

Mona shuddered involuntarily. 

Taking leave of the old man, she hurried back to Heart's Con- 
tent, and regained her chamber without anyone perceiving her. 

On the appointed day, Daddy Chiverton and his hopeful 
son Darby presented themselves at Hartshill Castle, and were 
shown into the drawing-room. 

The footman who admitted them knew that Darby was to be 
received as the young master, but having known him as an 
idle, poaching, good-for-nothing fellow, glad to go on any 
errand for a pint of beer, he was not particularly civil, and did 
not say ' sir' when he answered him. 

This enraged Darby, who had made up his mind to vindicate 
the false position he was placed in, and show them all, as he 
.-aid, who Avas their master. 

' Tell my father, Lord Cariston, that I am here,' he ex- 
claimed, luudly ; 'and don't let me have any of your insolence 
You do not seem to know who you are speaking to.' 

The footman was sorely tempted to retort, but hia discretion 
over-ruled his inclination, and he bowed, as he went to an- 
nounce the arrival of .Mr. Darby Leigh, as he was in future to 
be called, with the prefix of ' honourable.' 

Lord Cariston Was quickly in at tendance, and heartily we! 
corned the man he firmly believed to be his son, saving — 

' You have come to the seat of your ancestors, and I b 
you will live to add fresh lustre to the family name.' 

' Where's my mother?' inquired Darby, abruptly. 

' I will ring and ask,' rejoined Lord Cariston. 

He did so, and was informed thai she had driven over t 
Heart's Content. 

'It does not seem to me that she is over and above anxious 
to sec me,' remarked Darby. 



28 HELD IN THRALL. 

'You must make allowance, my dear boy,' answered poor 
Lord Cariston. ' She has a prejudice in favour of Ashley — 
rest his soul — who was so sadly snatched from us. If you act 
judiciously, you will in time, I have no doubt, overcome that 
prejudice, which, we must all admit, is very natural.' 

' I don't like it,' replied Darby, bluntly. 

' I sympathise with you. Still it is a matter which rests 
with time. Win her love. You are, I am sure, warm-hearted 
and affectionate ; frequent opportunities of displaying your 
filial affection will occur — do not neglect them. A more esti- 
mable lady never lived, as you will admit, when you know her 
sterling worth as well as I do.' 

' It seems a cold reception,' said Darby, shrugging his 
shoulders. 

'Everything is so sudden and unexpected,' pleaded his 
lordship. 

' Never mind — you're my father,' answered Darby. ' You've 
admitted it, haven't you 'I and you can't help that, old boy, can 
you?' 

Lord Cariston shrank back at this vulgar speech ; but he 
was always in favour of ' making allowances ' for people, and 
he attributed it to Darby's education and bringing up. 

'Ah, my lord,' exclaimed Daddy Chiverton, affecting to 
weep, ' you are much happier than I am. You have a son, 
while mine is found dead, just as I had discovered him. Oh, if 
I had only held him in my arms once ! the separation then 
would not have seemed so hard.' 

' Poor old man ! ' said Lord Cariston compassionately — 
' yours is, indeed, a hard case ! ' 

' Well, I give you up the son I thought was mine. You'll 
treat him kindly, my lord,' Daddy went on. ' Perhaps he 
mayn't be all you would like. He'll be strange to the ways 
of the fine folks he's come amongst, but you won't let him be 
put upon.' 

' Make your mind perfectly easy on that point. He shall 
receive every consideration.' 

' Don't you fret, father as was, I can take my own part,' 
said Darby, with a self-confident nod. ' I've got my position, 
and I'll make people respect me.' 

' That is right,' said Lord Cariston, approvingly ; ' make 
people respect you. A very proper speech. Never forget the 
old adage — " Familiarity breeds contempt." And now, as I 



DOING JUSTICE. 20 

have some letters to write, you must excuse me. Mr. 
Chivertoo, order what refreshment you like." 

'Thank you, my lord. I'll go below, and take a mug of 
beer, and a crust of bread and cheese, thank you.' 

Darby turned away with ineffable disdain, saying — 

'I shall have some champagne — that's the wine for nob- 
like me.' 

' "What, at this early hour of the morning! Of course you 
can do as you like ; and if you wish to celebrate your arrival. 
why ' 

' Leave me alone, father,' interrupted Darby. ' I know what 
I'm about. You uever need bother yourself about me. 1 
wasn't boru yesterday.' 

' Do as you like ; but be prudent. Every one will be ready 
to criticise your couduct at first, and it depends upon yourself 
entirely whether you make a favourable impression or uot. I 
have nothing more to say. If you want me, I shall be in my 
study. This house is your home.' 

Lord Cariston shook the old cottager by the hand, and went 
away, whereupon Darby rang the bell, and threw himself into 
an arm-chair. 

'Bring some champagne,' he said, when the servaut 
appeared ; ' and mind it's good. No half-and-half stuff for me, 
and tell the keeper to come round with dogs and guns. I shall 
shoot to-day.' 

The wine was brought and opened. Darby indulged rather 
freely, but Daddy Chiverton would not touch the sparkling 
champagne, fearing, as he said, that it might get into his head, 
and let out some things he had got shut up there securely. 

lie went downstairs, and had a modest lunch of bread and 
cheese and ale, and then betook himself to his cottage. 

Liking the wine, Darby emptied the bottle and part of 
another. As may be imagined, it took an effect upon him, 
unaccustomed as he was to its potent Influence; so when he 
was told that the keeper had arrived, he walked with an 
unsteady gait to the front door. 

There were several statues on the lawn, which was taste- 
fully laid out; Darby, full of a newborn spirit of destruction, 
took a gun from the keeper, and blew oil' the head of a winged 
i'upid, shattering the arm of a Mercury with the other barrel. 

The keeper dared not interfere, and said nothing. Darby 
grew confused and dizzy. He lost his equilibrium, and while 



30 HELD IN THRALL. 

trying to reload the gun, having put the shot in first, and the 
powder on the top of it, he fell back on the grass, and went 
sound asleep. 

The keeper called the servants, who indulged in many a 
joke at the expense of their new master, who, luckily for 
them, was unconscious of their pleasantries. 

Not knowing what else to do with him, they carried him 
upstairs, and laid him on a bed. 

Thus did he celebrate his arrival, and assume the position 
of heir of Hartshill Castle and the vast estates belonging to it. 

We must follow Lady Cariston to Heart's Content, where 
she found Marian Ingledew in tears. 

Ever since the terrible and distressing news of Ashley 
Leigh's death, she had given way to the most violent grief. 

Her sorrow was not loud or obtrusive, but it was none the 
less strong and acute. 

Those who suffer silently suffer most. 

She welcomed Lady Cariston as a mother, and threw her- 
self, weeping, into her arms. 

Mona sat in one corner of the deep bay-window, apparently 
engaged in embroidery work. 

' My dear, dear child,' said her ladyship, ' you must not 
give way like this — indeed you must not.' 

' Oh, Lady Cariston,' answered Marian Ingledew, weeping, 
' I do not mind confessing to you, now that he is gone, that 
I did love him far, far beyond all created things. It is so 
hard to lose him. My heart will break. I am sure it will.' 

' Let me comfort you, Marian. I think I can, if you will 
endeavour to be more composed,' replied her ladyship. 

' You are very good. So often have I experienced your 
kindness that I am persuaded of that; but you cannot heal 
my wounded spirit,' said Marian, with a melancholy shake of 
the head. 

' Is that Miss Seafield ? ' asked Lady Cariston, looking in 
the direction of the window. 

' Yes ; Mona has been so kind to me.' 

' Can we be by ourselves ? — what I have to say to you, I 
wish to say alone.' 

' Certainly, but Mona ' 

'Allow me to have my own way, dear,' said her ladyship, 
with a smile. ' I know Miss Seafield's worth, still it is my 
whim to speak to you alone.' 



DOING JUSTICE. 31 

' Do you mind leaving me with Lady Cariston? ' said Marian, 
to the governess. 

'Not in the least. I was not aware I 'was intruding upon 
your privacy,' answered Mona, rising and gathering her work 
together, prior to leaving the room, which she almost 
immediately did. 

Mona went out on the lawn, and sitting upon a rustic-chair 
near the window, braved the chilly air, in the vain attempt to 
hear what passed in the drawing-room. 

Lady Cariston and Marian were alone together for more than 
half-an-hour. 

What passed between them was impossible for the scheming 
governess to guess. 

When her ladyship came out to her carriage, she was 
accompanied by Marian, who was smiling through her 
tears. 

' You will not forget your promise to come and stay with 
me, at the castle, for a week, at Christmas ? " said Lady 
Cariston. 

' No ; many thanks,' answered Mariau. ' I will certainly 
come. Once more let me assure you of my gratitude for this 
visit.' 

' Remember ! ' said her ladyship, as she entered her carriage, 
and was driven off. 

Marian inclined her pretty head, and Mona worried herself 
to think if the word, ' Remember,' which appeared to be 
spoken in an admonitory tone, had reference to the invitation 
to the castle, or to the secret conversation which had taken 
place between them in the drawing-room. 

It was wonderful to notice the change in Marian's 
demeanour. 

She was sad and thoughtful, it is true, but the heart - 
breaking sorrow she had previously indulged in had utterly 
vanished. 

Mona was not slow to remark this, but she made no comment 
upon the sudden alteration. It was not her custom to a-k 
questions. 

When Lady Cariston returned to the castle, she at once 
noticed the ruthless destruction which had been committed 

amongst the statuary. 

Her face grew red, and she asked a servant what the cause 
of it was. 



32 HELD IN THRALL. 

Lady Cariston was soon in possession of the history of the 
affair, and burned with indignation to think that this low 
impostor, as she persisted in calling Darby, should dare to 
take such a liberty on his first arrival at her house. 

Seeking her husband, she made a complaint to him, but he, 
as usual, endeavoured to excuse the outrage. 

'It is monstrous,' she said. 'Will you allow such a thing 
to pass without expressing your disapproval of it ? Is Harts- 
hill to be turned into a bear garden ? ' 

' Remonstrate with him yourself, my dear. I am afraid he 
is a little too headstrong for me,' answered Lord Cariston. 
'You will, if you use kindness, acquire a beneficial influence 
over him.' 

' The kindness I should use would be to send him back to 
his cottage,' replied her ladyship, leaving the study of her 
husband in anything but an enviable frame of mind. 

Darby was not visible until dinner-time, when he appeared 
in a shooting-coat and a spotted neckerchief, looking rather 
penitent. 

At all times, whether alone or not, Lord and Lady Cariston 
were very particular about evening dress, and when Darby 
appeared in morning costume, his lordship was constrained to 
say — 

' You will I am sure excuse my remark, but it is always our 
custom to dress for dinner. Will you think of this when you 
visit Stanton, and procure what is necessary ? ' 

' I'll try to think of it,' answered Darby, gruffly. ' This is 
good enough I should fancy, when there is no company.' 
' We wish to show our respect to one another.' 
' Oh ! that's it. Well, I'll see about it.' 
' Odious creature ! ' said Lady Cariston to herself. 
For the next few days he conducted himself without com- 
mitting any glaring offence against good manners ; amusing 
himself by shooting and riding. 

It was then that a visitor arrived at the castle. This was 
Mr. Hamley Morris, who had written the letter which Lord 
Cariston had picked up and read in his wife's boudoir. 

Mr. Hamley Morris was tall and respectable, though not 
aristocratic in appearance. He was very reserved, seldom 
speaking without an object, as it seemed. He had short, dark 
brown hair, a bushy beard and whiskers. His attire, though 
not highly fashionable, was good, substantial, and very neat. 



DOING JUSTICE. 33 

Hi- eyes were bright and piercing; his features regular, 
and habitually stem in their expression. He was muscular, 
and rather inclined to be .-tout. 

Darby did not like this man. He frequently met him in 
the fields, and it Beemed that Mr. Hamley Morris's chief 

occupation was to follow him about. 

Once Morris said to him — 

'It's a fine thing to be a gentleman.' 

• I should not think you had ever had an opportunity of 
judging,' replied Darby, with a sneer. 

'Very clever," Baid Hamley Morris, with a smile. 'It is 
to be hoped it will last.' 

'Last! What do you mean?' asked Darby, beginning to tremble. 

But when he looked for Morris, he found he was walking 
quietly away. 

A little before Christmas, Mona, accompanying Marian 
Ingledew, arrived at the castle. 

Mr. Ingledew remained by himself, at Heart's Content. 
He was pursuing some archaeological studies, and did not mind 
being alone. Besides, the distance between the two ho 
was so short, that he could run over whenever he liked, with- 
out any difficulty. 

Darby was thrown a good deal in Marian's society, and 
courted it. 

She was very beautiful, and he fell in love with her, not 
taking any trouble to disguise his sentiment-. 

As for Marian, she treated him cavalierly, hating him 
cordially in her heart, and being angry with him fur his 
presumption. 

Out of respect for Ashley Leigh, no invitations had been 
sent out for Christmas. There was to be only a family party. 
No balls, no dinners, no display. 

Mona had hoped to fascinate Darby, and she was furioUG 
when she saw the attention he paid to .Marian. 

Talking to him she said — 

'It seems you are not satisfied with obtaining the position 
of Ashley Leigh, you desire die girl lie was in love with ; 
but, let me tell you, she respects his memory so much that 
Bhe will never be yours.' 

' I will never rest until Bhe i-.' he answered. 

'It would be better for you to turn your thought- in another 
direction.' 

I) 



34 HELD IN THRALL. 

' What direction ? ' 

' I want some of the money you promised me, and I must 
have it, or ' 

' The time is not up yet,' he interrupted. 

'Never mind that. Get the money, or dread the conse- 
quences. If you are wise, you will make a friend, not an 
enemy, of me. How would you like your house of cards to 
tumble about your ears ? ' 

' Don't, for heaven's sake, talk in that way ! ' he cried in 
great trepidation. 

' Get me the money,' answered Mona, resolutely. 

' Where am I to procure it ? ' he asked, in perplexity. 

' That is not my business. In three days I must have it. 
Do you understand me ? ' 

She walked away, leaving Darby in a perturbed state of mind. 

Where was he to get the large sum of five thousand pounds ? 
Would Lord Cariston give it to him ? Assuredly her ladyship 
would not give him a penny, if she could help it. There was 
no sympathy between them. 

He forthwith applied to Lord Cariston for the money, but, 
as he had expected, he was refused point blank. 

' A hundred or two you are welcome to,' replied his lordship, 
'but I do not feel justified in supplying you with such an 
extravagant sum. What do you want it for ? What can you 
want it for ? You have everything you can wish for here.' 

Darby was forced to content himself with a cheque for three 
hundred pounds. 

That was a very little help to the accumulation of five 
thousand. 

While he was racking his brain, and tortured by doubts and 
fears, he one day passed by the bedroom of Lady Cariston. 

The door was open, and he saw, on a table, her jewel-case, 
which was unlocked. 

The glittering contents were partially visible, and as he 
beheld the sparkling diamonds, and the artistically-wrought 
gold, he conceived an idea. 

Lady Cariston's jewels would enable him to satisfy the 
rapacity of Mona. 



THE CASTLE ON HUE. 35 



CHAPTER V. 

THE CASTLE ON FIRE. 

] ,.\dy Cariston's »uite of apartments were in the left wing of 
the castle, as were the rooms apportioned to the use of Miss 
Ingledcw and Mona. 

Between the two wings came the main portion of the 
building, in which were the bancpueting, drawing, and other 
room-. 

In the right wing the servants slept. 

Darby regarded the position of her ladyship's apartments 
with great care, and resolved, on Christmas Day, to make an 
attempt to possess himself of the jewels. 

The day opened dull and heavy. The air was heavily 
charged with snow, which, about one o'clock, began to fall 
in feathery Hakes, covering everything in Avinter's pallid 
garments. 

The ladies had been to church in the morning, and in the 
afternoon Marian complained of illness, and retired to her bed- 
chamber. 

A slight attempt at decoration had been made, but it was 
not very successful, as Lady Cariston discouraged anything 
ihat resembled festivity. 

The mistletoe was not hung up in the hall, and the huge 
branches of ivy, laurel, and holly, which usually adorned the 
castle, were absent. 

It promised to be a very gloomy Christmas, instead of a 
season of festivity and rejoicing, but every one secretly praised 
her ladyship because Ashley Leigh was a general favourite, 
and it was considered only right to pay a fitting tribute to his 
memory. 

.Marian did contrive to appear at dinner, but she retired as 
■ as the ladies rose; from dessert. 

According to custom, Lord Cariston had, with his own 
hands, mixed a loving cup. 

'1 am at a loss for a toast, my dear,' he said, a [dressing his 

J) 2 



36 HELD IN THRALL. 

wife. ' Perhaps I may call upon Mr. Ilamley Morris to give 



us one.' 



' With pleasure,' replied Morris, raising the cup in his hand. 
1 1 give you the " rightful heir." ' 

Then he drank deeply. 

The toast was accompanied with a significant glance at 
Darby, who did not like it at all, as every one, except Mona 
and Lord Cariston, refused to pledge him. 

Hamley Morris remarked that Mona drank the toast to 
Darby, and made a note of the circumstance ; thinking it odd 
that she should espouse his cause, when she was so intimate 
with Marian, and had known Ashley Leigh so well. 

' It seems to me,' said Darby, with a flushed face, ' that . the 
toast was meant as a direct insult to me.' 

' How so ? Are you not the rightful heir ? ' asked Hamley 
Morris. 

Darby bit his lip and was silent. 

' You are too sensitive,' said Lord Cariston. 

Darby got up and left the table, without a word of apology 
or excuse. 

He was not seen again for some hours. 

The castle clock was striking ten, when he crept gently up- 
stairs, a small lamp in his hand, and determination expressed 
in his face. 

He entered Lady Cariston's room, having satisfied himself 
that she was in the drawing-room, playing chess with her 
husband. 

The jewel-case was where he had seen it on the former 
occasion. 

Disregarding its weight, which was considerable, he seized 
it, and was about to make his way out of the apartment with 
it, when he heard voices on the stairs. 

' Perhaps the wayward child has gone to bed, disdaining to 
honour us with his company,' said the voice of Hamley Morris. 

' Lord Cariston is annoyed. I wish you would prevail 
upon him to come down,' answered the voice of her ladyship ; 
who added — ' This should be a season of festivity, not ' 

What else she said Darby did not stay to hear. 

Quick as lightning he opened a window and threw the 
jewel-case out on the lawn. 

Then he unhesitatingly set fire to the bed-curtains and 
those about the windows. 



THE CASTLE ON FIRE. 37 

[nstantly a dense smoke arose, which was followed by 

>ely crackling flames. 

The house was old, the wood-work dry, and everything in 
readiness for the appearance of the fiery demon. A volume 
of smoke wits driven out on the landing by the wind which 
entered at the open window, and nearly choked her ladyship 
and Namley Morris. 

• I Hi,' cried Lady Cariston, • the eastle is on fire! Save my 
jewels— the box on the table. I will give the alarm below. 
Heaven help OS ! 

' I will do my best, my lady,' answered Morris, who always 
preserved his presence of mind on an emergency. 

Lady Cariston ran downstair- to give an alarm respecting 
the terrible occurrence, and to dispatch messengers, mounted 
on fleet horses, for the engines at Stanton. 

Morris plunged into the smoke which was rapidly becoming 
thicker every moment, 

Just at this crisis, Darby was forcing his way out. 

The two men came into collision. 

Ilamley Morris was thrown violently against the door-post 
by Darby, who was advancing at a (piicker pace, and heard 
the latter rush pasl him. 

This aroused hi- suspicions. 

Someone hail been in Lady Cariston's apartment ; there! 
it was highly prohable that the fire was the work of an in- 
cendiary. 

Gasping for breath and crawling on his hand- and knees, 
-u as to get the benefit of any small current of comparatively 
h aii-. Hamley Morris reached the table. 

II.- felt with his hands, and looked on it- surface by the 

help of the flames, which had now Beized. upon the oak wain- 
ting, curiously carved by cunning hands of yore, and which 
■ a ruddy glare around. Nothing could he Bee of the jewel- 

The heal of the fire compelled him to withdraw, and the 
eager flame- followed him to the door, rolling over the Landing 



• 



and licking tin- bannisters with their forked tongues. 

The conflagration was becoming serious. 

It threatened to involve the ancient castle in dire ruin, 
ding he could do no more, Hamley Horris went down- 
stairs, to render what assistance he could, either by advic 
action, in extinguishing the fire. 



38 HELD IN THRALL. 

Darby had hastened to the lawn, and picked up the jewel- 
case, which he hastily hid in the midst of some evergreens,, 
where he thought he could safely leave it until the morning. 

All the servants were assembled, with pails and buckets, 
but the supply of water was difficult to obtain ; it having to 
be carried from a frozen lake, distant about half-a-mile. A 
double chain of men was necessary for this purpose, which 
formed a picturesque appearance on the snow, which had fallen 
for some hours, and now lay thick upon the ground. 

The fire had, in the short space of a quarter of an hour, 
gained a terrible mastery over the left wing. As the flames 
broke through the windows, their vivid light was seen for 
many miles around. 

Three men had gone for the engines. 

Fearing that the venerable pile would be destroyed before 
their arrival, many articles of value were hastily got out and. 
placed upon the lawn. 

The plate-chest was the centre of a collection of odds and 
ends, consisting of pianos, old furniture, valuable paintings by 
famous masters, and countless other things. 

Hamley Morris was here, there, and everywhere. 

Lord Cariston, deeply agitated, and incapable of exertion or 
direction, formed one of a melancholy group, consisting of his 
wife, Mona, and Darby, which was to be seen in front of the 
house, on a couple of hearthrugs considerately placed on the 
snow for them. 

Suddenly Mona raised a cry. 

* Marian — Miss Ingledew ! ' she cried. 

' What of her ? Is she not here ? ' asked Lord Cariston. 

'No, indeed. She went to lay down ; complaining of 
indisposition.' 

' Oh, heaven ! ' cried her ladyship, with sincere concern, 
' she will be burnt alive ! ' 

Raising his voice, Lord Cariston cried — 

' A lady — Miss Ingledew, is in the left wing ! A thousand 
pounds to the man who saves her ! ' 

The ringing sound of his lordship's voice electrified all who 
heard it. 

Three men rushed to the house and ascended the grand 
staircase. 

Hamley Morris was in front. 

A solid body of flame barred his progress. 



THE CASTLE ON* FIRE. 39 

To attempt to break through it would have been madness. 
At a glance, he saw that the only way to save Miss Ingledew 
was through the window of her room, and by the aid of a ladder. 

No time was to be lost, for the flames were spreading 
laterally with extraordinary rapidity. 

Apparently she was unconscious of the immensity of the 
danger which threatened her. 

Men ran hither and thither in search of a ladder, but, as 
sometimes happens when excitement ruus high, one could not 
be found. 

All at once a man darted from the crowd, bearing a ladder in 
his arms. 

He placed it against the wall, and guided by the cries which 
arose on all sides, he selected the window of the room occupied 
by the poor girl. 

Running up with considerable agility and undaunted 
courage, his form was visible to all, for the flames lighted up 
the scene with a vividness resembling that of noonday. 

To the surprise of all, his face was concealed with a piece of 
black cloth, cut into the shape of a mask ; so that while he 
appeared to be a young man, it was impossible to recognise 
his features. 

The man in the mask found the window fastened. Dashin<r 
the framework to pieces with his fists, a shower of glass fell 
at the feet of those who were, with their arms, steadying the 
ladder. 

Then he disappeared into the apartment. 

The draught occasioned by the open window fanned the lire, 
which had already penetrated to Marian's bedroom, and a 
cloud of lire ami smoke rushed out into the air. 

Through this nothing could he seen. 

The time that elapsed between the disappearance and the 
return of the adventurous stranger Beemed an age to those 
who were expecting him. 

He waa on the topmost round of the ladder almost before he 
was perceived. 

In his arm he carried something apparently inanimate. 

It was the body of Marian Ingledew. 

A great shoul rent the air, in recognition of this heroic 
deed, and a throng awaited the man in the mask, who, reaching 
the ground, handed his burden to those nearest him, thereby 
diverting public attention from himself. 



40 HELD IN THRALL. 

Slipping through the crowd, he was quickly lost to sight. 

Marian was carried to Lord Cariston, and efforts were 
made to restore her to consciousness, which were -speedily 
successful. 

When she opened her eyes she was asked if she knew who 
had saved her, and replied in the negative, saying that she 
only remembered being half suffocated with smoke, trying to 
escape, and falling insensible upon the floor. 

' Where is the generous man who risked his life to save that 
of this young lady? ' cried Lord Cariston. 

No one could answer the question. 

In the confusion of the moment he had vanished, no one 
knew whither. 

This remarkable incident created a profound sensation. 

Speculation as to the identity of the man in the black mask 
was rife. 

The arrival of the fire-engines from Stanton now drew the 
attention of the spectators into another channel. 

A large quantity of hose was carried to the lake, and willing 
hands were found to man the engines, which quickly cast 
heavy jets of water upon the flames, which, owing to the 
direction of the wind, were confined to the left Aving entirely. 

No persuasion could induce Lord Cariston, or any of his 
party, to quit the premises until the fire was extinguished. 
The ladies, covered with rugs and furs, defied the inclemency 
of the weather, and encouraged by their presence those who 
were labouring in their behalf. 

About one o'clock Mr. Ingledew arrived from Heart's 
Content, giving his friends a pressing invitation to come to 
' his house, until the extent of the damage by fire and water 
could, in the morning, be estimated. 

This was gladly accepted, and, in another hour, carriages 
being provided, the party left the castle for Heart's Content, 
having seen the fire so far subdued that no farther danger 
was to be apprehended. 

Darby had acted a very cowardly and pusillanimous part 
all through the fire. He had been as useless as the most 
terror-stricken woman, and merited the contempt of his con- 
duct, which was openly expressed. 

The fact was, he thought more of the jewels than anything 
else, and was afraid to venture far from where he had hidden 
them. 



THE CASTLE ON 1TRE. 41 

What diil it matter to him it' the castle were burnt to the 
ground I 

When Marian Ingledew was in danger he showed some 
agitation, but he had neither the sense nor the courage to do 
anything to save her. 

Who the stranger was who had extricated her from her 
perilous position he was as much puzzled to guess as any one 
eUe. 

Mr. Ingledew had included Darby in his invitation, which 
he refused with thanks, Baying he would not inconvenience 
him, as he had no doubt he could rough it in what remained of 
the castle ; besides, it was necessary that some one should stay 
to look after the servants, to see no pillaging went on. 

Mr. I lamley Morris also expressed hi -resolve of staying behind. 

Darby favoured him with a frown, and told him he need 
not trouble himself, which had no effect upon the individual 
addressed, who repeated his determination, and turned his 
back on Daily. 

Lord Cariston thanked tsjem both, and said he felt proud of 
by's devotion to his interests. 

Being accustomed to a life of labour, Darby had a habit of 
waking early. Since he had become a gentleman he did not 
when he woke; but on the morning after the lire, this 
custom served him in good stead. 

He got up before it was light, and having noticed the room 
in which Ilamley Morris slept, gently opened the door, ex- 
tracted the key, and locked the room on the outside, taking 
the key with him. 

The noise of the key grating in the lock roused Ilamley 
Morris, who Bprang out of bed, and found himself securely 
fastened in. 

Guessing to whom he was indebted for this act of attention, 
he went to the window and looked out. 

The day was jusl breaking ; and he saw Darby by the im- 
perfect light, groping in a group of evergreens. 

Presently he found something, which be put under his arm, 

and walked rapidly away. 

What this something WAS, Ilamley Morris could nol tell 
l>ut he could guess. 

Employing the faculty of putting this and thai together, 
whicb he enjoyed in no common degree, he at one,' came to 
the conclusion that it was her ladyship's jewel-case 1 



42 HELD IN THRALL. 

The person he ran in contact with in the doorway of her 
bed-room could have been no other than Darby ; who, to 
conceal his robbery, had set the house on fire. 

Having satisfied himself that this was the case, Hamley 
Morris tried his utmost to get out of the bed-room in which he 
was locked. 

This he was unable to do for some time ; he had to ring the 
bell, and the servants were some minutes employed in breaking 
open the door. 

Darby was not to be seen. 

Where he had gone was a mystery, which Hamley Morris, 
who seemed to interest himself strangely in his affairs, could 
only tell by closely watching his movements. 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES SUSPENDED. 1 J 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES SUSPENDED. 

The scene at Ilartshill Castle, after the fire, was a very 
melancholy one. 

The snow near the burning wing had heen melted away, or 
trodden into a black mass hy many feet ; and frozen hard hy 
the frost which followed. 

The firemen had returned to Stanton with the engines, 
leaving two of their number to keep guard over the smoulder- 
ing beams and rafters, 'which still emitted a dull, heavy smoke. 

So effectually had the fire been subdued, that there was nol 
the slightest danger of its breaking out again. 

The costly furuiture and works of art, which had bi 
placed together on the lawn, were still standing in the position 
in which they had been left. 

Darby took a fleeting glance at the scene of desolation, which 
was his work, and hastened on ; having business of importance 
to transact which brooked of no delay. 

It was absolutely necessary to procure money for Miss 
Seatield. 

He had made a daring venture to procure the jewel-, and he 
had thought of a man in tin- neighbourhood of Stanton from 
whom he could obtain an advance. 

This man was named Bloxam. 

Jonas Bloxam was a man of property and an usurer. It 
was by the profitable and judicious exercise of usury that 
he had become rich. 

Rumour said that he had once been an attorney, and that he 
had been struck off t lie rolls for some improper act. Elowevei 
that might be, it was Certain thai he had more than a CUT 
knowledge of law, and wa- capable "l' giving L r "od Legal ach 
to those who applied to him on matters of busini 

He OCCQpied a small but elegantly built bouse, .-iiuated 
about a mile from Stanton. A lew acres of html surround- 
ing it called him master, and he was always at home till the 



44 HELD IN THRALL. 

middle of the day to receive visitors. As may be imagined, 
Jonas Bloxam was anything but popular. 

It was openly said that he had ruined innumerable farmers 
and tradesmen. Upon more than one fine estate he had laid 
his clutches, and, though living unostentatiously, Jonas 
Bloxam was an acknowledged power in the county of Mid- 
landshire. 

The hour of nine was striking as Darby walked up the 
short drive leading to the house. 

Mr. Bloxam was standing at the breakfast-room window, 
looking over a lengthy document, upon which he was trying 
to throw as much light as possible. When he beheld Darby, 
he went into the hall and opened the door himself. 

' Good-morning,' he said. ' You are — I know your face 
somewhere. Who are you ? ' 

' The Honourable Darby Leigh,' was the reply. 

' Oh, yes,' answered Mr. Bloxam, with a grim smile, ' now 
I recollect, otherwise Chiverton. Come in, Mr. Chiverton.' 

Darby was nettled at this mode of address, but he was 
obliged to conceal his ill-temper, and he followed the usurer 
into the breakfast-room. 

' Take a chair. I have been expecting you,' said Mr. Bloxam. 

Darby sat down near the fire, and warming his hands, put 
his foot upon the handsome, inlaid jewel-case he had brought 
%vith him. 

' I hear you had a fire last night at the castle. Serious 
affair, eh "? ' said Jonas Bloxam. 

'Not very. Only a wing burnt,' said Darby. 

* Ah, so much the worse for trade. Now, what is your 
business ? I have had my breakfast. Can I offer you any- 
thing 1 

Darby had no appetite and he said so. 

' My lady mother,' began Darby, ' has given me leave to 
bring her jewels to you, to obtain an advance of money upon 
them. I have occasion for money just now, and Lord Cariston 
is not inclined to supply my wants.' 

' What do you Avant money for ? ' inquired Jonas Bloxam, 
sharply. 

' Oh, I have my little expenses,' replied Darby. 

He raised his eyes to those of the usurer, who was a short, 
stout man, with a round, common-place face, quick in his 
manner, and disagreeable in his mode of addressing any one. 



THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES SUSPENDED. 45 

' Show me the jewels,' said the usurer. 

Darby found that he had not the key of the case. 

This was a difficulty which hud not before occurred to him. 

'It is very odd that your lady mother should have given 
you the jewels to bring to me and forgotten to send the key,' 
said Mr. Bloxam. 

'The whole affair was to be kept very secret, and it was 
done in a hurry,' answered Darby in some confusion. 

The usurer laughed loudly. 

• So I should think," he replied. 

He looked about in a cabinet and found a chisel, which he 
handed to Darby, telling him to break the box open, which, 
with some exertion, he did. 

Mr. Bloxam took out the jewels with tender care and ex- 
amined them minutely. 

• Very chaste, very rare and valuable,' he said ; ' Lady 
Cariston must be unusually good-natured to make such a 
sacrifice for you, youDg man.' 

' She is — she adores me,' rejoined Darby. 

' No lies, if you please,' said Air. Bloxam, raising his voice 
for the first time. ' I must have the truth told me by thosi 
who come here. Now, tell me the truth, the whole truth. 
Perhaps I know more than you suspect.' 

Darby was silent. 

lie bit his nails uneasily, and cowered beneath the search 
glance which Mr. Bloxam favoured him with. 

' If you have lost your tongue I must talk for you,' said the 
usurer; ' listen to me. You want money because you have to 
pay the promoter of the plot, which, in its successful issue, has 
placed you where you are.' 
I >arby sprang to his feet. 

'Do not deny it,' said .Mr. Iiloxani. 'Be content to confess 
all to me. I shall not betray you. Make me your friend, and 
you can have what money you require.' 

As he spoke he touched the Bpring of a secret drawer in a 
desk which stood on a side table. This Hew forward, dis- 
playing a pile of gold and notes, which did not fail to arrest 
Darby's attention. 

Mr. Bloxam plunged hi- hand into this mine of wealth and 
crumpled op the crisp cotes in a manner thai aroused Dar \ .- 
liveliest cupidity. 

'Now, Mr. Chiverton, you have seen my ability to oblige 



46 HELD IN THRALL. 

you, and, to convince you of my willingness we must go on 
again,' said Jonas Bloxam. 

The fact was he had had his suspicions about Darby's birth 
being genuine, and he had spoken to him in a decided manner 
to test the truth of his suspicions. The result perfectly 
satisfied so shrewd a man as Jonas Bloxam. 

' You want money because you must pay your obligations. 
That is very proper. I am the last to find fault with a 
willingness to pay,' he resumed ; ' you could not obtain money 
from Lady Cariston, because she hates you and refuses to 
believe in you, and you failed with his lordship, because he is 
averse to encouraging extravagance in the person of a young 
man who has been unaccustomed to handle large sums of 
money. Is it not so, Mr. Chiverton ? ' 
He paused for a reply. 

Darby had ceased to be offended at being called ' Mr. Chiver- 
ton.' He began to think that after all he could not do better 
than make a friend of this terrible Mr. Bloxam, who seemed 
to have the secrets of the human heart at his control. 

' I wid not deny what you have said,' he answered. ' Go on.' 
' I intend to do so. Finding that you could not obtain 
money from your parents, you took secret counsel with your- 
self, the result of which is apparent in that jewel-case on my 
table, and the fire at Hartshill Castle last night. Now we 
come to another question. How much money do you want ? ' 
' Five thousand pounds,' said Darby, shortly. 
' A large sum. When must you have it ? ' 
' In three days,' replied Darby, incautiously. 
' Oh ! ' exclaimed Jonas Bloxam. ' Your creditor is impera- 
tive. Three days. Short notice, eh ! Well, we perfectly 
understand one another, and I think I can let you have the 

money, provided " 

He paused again to count out the notes and gold he had in 
the secret drawer of the desk, saying — 

' Fifty, one hundred, two hundred, two fifty,' and so on, as 
he proceeded. 

When he had reckoned the five thousand pounds he 
continued — 

'Provided you give me a little protection, such as I consider 
I have a right to demand.' 

' Of what kind ? Are not the jewels sufficient ? ' said 
Darby. 



TIIE SWORD OF DAMOCLES SUSPENDED. 47 

' Stop a bit. It is a pity that all young men arc so 
impatient.' 

Mr. Bloxam took up a pen, and with deliberation wrote on 
a sheet of paper about a dozen lines, which he handed to his 
visitor. 

1 Write that,' he said, ' and you shall have the money.' 

Darby turned first red, and then as pale as deatb, as he read 
the paper, which was nothing more nor less than a confession 
of the imposition he had practised upon the credulity of Lord 
■ Cariston. 

' You are a fiend,' he cried, angrily. ' I will not place myself 
in your power. Why should I enable you to send me to penal 
servitude for life if it pleases you to do so.' 

Jonas Bloxam shrugged his shoulders. 

' If you have my money, and we work together,' he said, ' it 
follows that our interests are identified, does it not?' 

'I will not do it.' 

' Take it or leave it.' 

Mr. Bloxam now amused himself by filling in the body of a 
1 .111 of exchange, drawn at twelve months after date, for seven 
thousand pounds. 

This he pushed over to Darby, and dipping a pen in the ink, 
handed it to him, saying — 

'Try the new signature.' 

Darby trembled all over, and big drops of perspiration fell 
from his forehead. 



43 HELD IN THRALL. 



CHAPTER VII. 

LAUGHED AT. 

Darby Chiverton was totally unable to overcome the trepi- 
dation he felt at the usurer's request that he should affix his 
signature to so dangerous a document as the confession which 
Jonas Bloxam had drawn up. 

As he still sat, pale and trembling, without attempting to 
take up the pen, the usurer said — 

' The times are bad. The year has not been good. Far- 
mers who owe me money have failed to pay, and I shall 
inconvenience myself by letting you have this money.' 

' You run very little risk,' said Darby. 

' If you are the real son of Lord Cariston, your father will 
pay this bill for you, and I will let you have your letter back 
again.' 



I swear to you- 



' That is all very well ; but I must protect myself,' inter- 
rupted Mr. Bloxam. 'When I have this letter and the bill 
I shall rest contented. If you are an impostor, and you don't 
pay me, I shall denounce you to the police, at the expiration 
of twelve months.' 

Darby's hair bristled. 

He did not speak. 

' Make haste,' said Jonas Bloxam, playing with the notes. 
' Once more, I say, take it or leave it. We can finish the 
affair at once, if we like.' 

The perspiration rolled down Darby's face. 

' You ask me to ruin myself,' he said. 

'Not at all. It is a guarantee for my money. That is 
what I have a right to exact. When you have paid me, I 
will, as I said, give you back your letter.' 

' Really ? ' 

' I lend my money at the highest possible rate,' answered 
Jonas Bloxam ; ' but I never break my word.' 

A cloud passed before the eyes of Darby, and in that 



LAUGHED AT. 49 

cloud he saw the figure of Mona, tall, stately, unbending , 
regarding him threateningly. 

' Give me the paper,' he said. 

Of two evils he chose, as he thought, the least. lie hastily 
wrote his Bignature to the bill, and signed the letter. 

The latter document was to this effect — 

'Dear Mr. Bloxam, 

' In consideration of your lending me five thousand 
pounds, of which I am in need, I hereby confess that I am not 
the son of Lord and Lady Cariston. My mother made a 
false statement on her deathbed. The plot was arranged 
between us ; and I place myself at your mercy. 

' Yours faithfully, 

' Darby Leigh. 
' [Once known as Chiverton.] ' 

Jonas Bloxam dried both papers before the fire, and folding 
them up, placed them in the secret drawer of his desk. 

Darby took the money, and, counting it, put the notes in Lis 
pocket. 

'Keep faith with mo, my lad,' said the usurer, 'and we shall 
have no occasion to fall out ; but if you trifle with me, I will 
send you to Portland Island, as sure as my name's Bloxam.' 

Darby trembled afresh, and shaking hands with his new 
friend, left the house, and walked rapidly down the drive. 

In the road he ran up against a man who was standing still. 

'Hullo!' exclaimed the man, 'why don't you look where 
you are going to I ' 

It was Ilamley Morris. 

' Don't you know me ? ' said Darby. 

' It is you, eh ? These dark mornings it is difficult to see,' 
replied Morris. ' Where have you been ? Mr. Uloxam's, is it 
not? A worthy money-lender, though he charges cent, percent.' 

'I know one of the servants there,' rejoined Darby. 

'Indeed. You should drop those, low acquaintance-; now 
you have achieved a position,' said Ilamley Morris, merci- 
lessly. 

' Good-bye,' said Darby, 'I am going to Heart's Content, 
to breakfast.' 

' So am I. We will walk together. 1 

Ilamley Morris took his arm, and they walked down the 
snow-covered road. 

E 



50 HELD IN THRALL. 

For some time tliey proceeded in silence. 

'I don't know why you should fasten yourself upon me?' 
said Darby, at length. ' I have never sought your acquaintance.' 

'Possibly not. I want to talk to you, though,' answered 
Hamley Morris, quietly. 

' To me ? ' 

'Yes— why not?' 

' You do not seem to understand the difference in our posi- 
tions ? ' said Darby, with an affectation of haughtiness. 

' You mean that I am an honest man, whose character is 
above suspicion, and you ' 

' Once for all, sir. I shall not allow myself to be insulted 
by you ! ' cried Darby, angrily. 

' Very well. Let us change the conversation. What have 
you done with that little box, you raked out from amidst the 
bushes on the lawn, and started with this morning 1 ' asked 
Hamley Morris, unconcernedly. 

' You are mistaken,' said Darby, his teeth chattering 

' You feel the cold. Walk more quickly ; and answer my 
questions presently. Have you heard that Lady Cariston has 
lost her jewels in the fire? ' 

1 That is not surprising.' 

« Why not ? ' 

' Fire usually consumes everything that it comes in contact 
with,' replied Darby more at his ease. 

'The fire never came in contact with those jewels, or it 
would have left some remains. By the way, Avhat have you 
done with that little box, I spoke about just now ? ' 

Darby wrested his arm away from Hamley Morris ; and 
stopping in the road, asked — 

' What are you trying to do with me 1 ' 

<■ Qh— nothing at all, my dear fellow. I only wish you to 
gratify my harmless curiosity.' 

The two men looked at one another; and Darby's eyes 
sought the ground. 

Hamley Morris regarded him pityingly ; and a smile played 
around the corners of his mouth. 

With every appearance of sincerity Darby assured Hamley 
Morris that the box of which he spoke contained property of 
his own. t 

' Which you have deposited with Mr. Bloxam, I suppose, 

eaid Morris. 



LAUGHED AT. 51 

tly.' 

■ I- is o Id thai you .-liould have any property to dispose of", 
i-idering who and what you were so short a time back ; 

and it is ah] Id thai Lady Cariston's jewels should be 

missing, 1 said Hamley Morris. 

'Anyone to hear as, would think you were a detective 
talking to a thief,' .-aid Darby, laughing, with an affectation of 
gdbd bumour. 

• Perhaps we are respectively what you suggest, Mr. 
Chiverton,' answered Morris, drily. 

•Si:.' answered Darby, drawing himself up, 'you have 
persisted in making insulting remarks ever since I had the 
misfortune to meet you this morning. You assail me in every 
way, and I will not stand it. I have done nothing, that I am 
aware of, to offend you or incur your hostility. In future I 

.1 refuse to hold any sort of communication with you. If 
you continue to subject me to annoyance, I will see what a 
little personal chastisement will do for you.' 

lias in"; delivered hinself of this speech, which was a lengthy 
and elegant one for him, Darby strode on in advance. Though 
tall and muscular, Hamley Morris was no match for Darby, 
who had been brought up in the woods, and was as hard as 
iron, as well as lithe and active. 

Forgetting this, Morris advanced towards him, and laying 
his hand on his arm, said — 

' Not so fast, my friend, we have other things to talk about.' 

Darby's only reply to this speech was rapidly to retreat a 

p, and, extending his arm, strike his unfortunate acquain- 
tance under the ear. 

The effect of the blow was to -end him staggering acn 
the road, until he fell into the ditch, where he lay for some 

nutee in a confused, half-stunned state. 

'That will teach the fellow better manners,' Said Darby to 

mself, and, increasing his pace, he hurried on to Heart's 
( lontent 

When Hamley Morris 'picked himself op,' as he expressed 
it, he felt rather dizzy, and came to the conclusion that it was 
nol advisible to roue Darby's temper too much. 

'Never mind, 1 he muttered, * Ii will all go into the settle* 
-nent of accounts, which must take place sooner or later. | 
can afford to wait; only it make, me more bitter against him. 

Whew ! how hard he hits. His list is like .. hammer.' 

E 2 



52 HELD IN THRALL. 

Reaching Heart's Content about mid-day, Darby found its- 
inmates in a great state of confusion. 

Lord Cariston had been seized with a fit. 

He was of an apoplectic nature and the excitement of the 
previous night had proved too much for him. 

Two doctors were in the house, but their skill had not yet 
been sufficient to restore him to consciousness, and it was 
feared that he would die before the day closed. 

This news made Darby's heart beat faster. 

If Lord Cariston died the title would be his, and his power, 
together with his command of money, unlimited. 

Mr. Ingledew and Marian did all they could to comfort 
Lady Cariston in her affliction, but were unsuccessful. 

' If he would only recover his consciousness,' she said, 'if 
he would only recognise me and make some provision for the 
future. It is miserably selfish of me to talk like this, but it is 
excruciating to think that the wretched imposter, whom he 
has recognized as his son, will take everything.' 

' Let us hope for the best,' said Mr. Ingledew. 

' I cannot hope ; my presentiments point the other way,' she 
said, weeping. 

Darby was particularly anxious. 

He kept on asking for admission to the sick man's room, and 
when refused by the doctors, he waited outside and pestered 
them with innumerable questions. 

Towards evening the patient grew worse. 

He had not been conscious since his seizure, and it was 
feared that he w r ould die without being able to take leave of 
his family. 

A report was brought in respecting the fire at Hartshill 
Castle, which no one but Darby cared to read. He perused it, 
and found to his satisfaction that the damage was comparatively 
slight. The main portion of the building and one wing being 
quite habitable, while a few months would suffice to build up 
the part which had been consumed by the flames. 

No one at Heart's Content thought of going to rest that 
night. 

All awaited the appearance of the doctors, to tell them 
either that the end was approaching, or that the malady from 
which Lord Carriston suffered had taken a turn for the- 
better. 

Before morning all was over. 



LAUGHED AT. 53 

Lor.l Cariston, at a comparatively early ago, breathed his 

;. without being conscious from the time of his seizure until 
the hour of his death. 

The funeral of Ashley Leigh had been a very quiet and 
private one at Kensal Green, but that of Lord Cariston was an 
expensive and grand affair ; his remains were deposited in the 
family vault, and Darby was made chief mourner. 

Lady Cariston was much affected. 

She continued t> reside with -Mr. Ingledcwand Marian, at 
Heart's Content. 

Darby, however, took up his abode at the castle, and lived 
there alone ; he having intimated to Hamley Morris that he 
could dispense with his company, which compelled Morris to 
accept the hospitality of Mr. Ingledew, which was gladly 
extended to him, at the solicitation of Lady Cariston. 

For society Darby depended upon a few of the officers 
quartered at Stanton, upon the vicar, the doctor, and Mr. 
Snarley. the lawyer. 

He took the title of Lord Cariston and took possession of the 
property, which no one could prevent him doing, as there was 
nobody to contest his right, and the late lord had openly 
>_ r nized and received him as his son. 

Lady Cariston had a very small income of her own, which 
was hers before her marriage, but beyond this she had 
nothing. 

1 >arby informed her that she might live at the castle if she 
chose, but she indignantly refused his offer. 

It was reported that he drank very deeply, and gambled 
occasionally with varying luck. 

lie was received politely whenever he called at Heart's 
Content, which he frequently did, for he was very fond of 
Bdarian. 
This persistence in a hopeless passion enraged Mona, who. 

ore than ever now, wished to be Darby's wile. 

He bad paid ber the money he had borrowed from Jonas 

Blozam, and she hail not a-ked him lor more. Occasionally, 

when he thoughl of the usurei mid the terrible confession be 

had locked up in his desk, he trembled. 

Bui he would drown all anticipation of the future iii copious 

draughts of wine, and COUlfbrf himself with the reflection that. 

teas Lord Cariston and master of rlartshilL 

Imong the late lord's papers In- found several bonds of 



54 HELD IN THRALL. 

Mr. Ingledew's ; which proved that the antiquary had 
borrowed money from him at various times. 

Darby knew that he was only a tenant of Heart's Content,. 
and shrewdly suspected that he had not paid any rent for 
many years. 

Mr. Snarley, the solicitor, of whom we have spoken, was a 
Stanton man, and not the attorney employed by Lady Caristou,. 
He was a rival of his, and had purposely been engaged by 
Darby. 

To him the new lord gave all the deeds, bonds, and papers, 
relating to Heart's Content, to look over. 

One night, about six weeks after the funeral of Lord 
Cariston, there was the usual dinner party at the castle. 

It consisted of Captain Scudamore, Snarley, Mr. Simms, 
Lieutenant Wood, and some others ; who made a big hole in 
the wine«bins of the late lord ; and rather patronised Darby. 

At dinner, Captain Scudamore said — 

' By the way, Cariston, I meant yesterday to ask you if 
you were in any way pledged to Mr. Ingledew ; as Heart's 
Content would make a splendid hunting box for a few months- 
in the glen, and I should like to rent it of you.' 

'I scarcely know,' answered Darby. < Snarley can' tell us, I 
believe.' 

' He is simply a tenant-at-will, my lord ! ' replied Snarley. 
' You could turn him out at a moment's notice.' 

' Really. Well, Scudamore, I will give you an answer in a 
day or two.' 

' Thanks,' said the captain. ' I have seen better places, and 
more game ; but I should like to have you for a neighbour,, 
you know.' 

This compliment pleased the new lord. 

' When are we to have that day's shooting in the water- 
meadows, Cariston ? ' inquired Lieutenant Wood. 

' When you like. I can lend you some of my fast-travelling 
setters ; choice dogs they are, with capital noses.' 

' I prefer a couple of my own,' was the answer. ' Many 
thanks for your offer. Mine are steady, old, three mile-an- 
hour dogs, which will stand a day and a night without breaking 
their point, and bring their game to hand.' 

This was the sort of conversation which went on for hours, 
unless some pretty girl in the neighbourhood was mentioned by- 
name. 



l LUGHED AT. 55 

' Miss Ingledew ifl a fine girl ! ' observed Mr. Simms. 

' I like the governess best! ' remarked Snarley. 

' She is too cold for my fancy,' said Captain Scudamore. 
'What do you say, Caristonl You don't quite hit it off in 
that quarter, do you ? ' 

'I am very friendly with the [ngledews ; and I quite agree 
with you that Marian ia perfection,' replied Darby. 

1 1 is friends, seeing which way the wind blew, as they 
phrased it, changed the subject. 

On the day following, Darby rode over to Heart's Content; 
and finding .Marian alone in the drawing-room, determined to 
take the opportunity of speaking to her seriously. 

He thought that she would never be able to resist his title, 
his wealth, and position ; and if she did, he resolved to threaten 
the father with ejectment, unless he coerced his daughter into 
a marriage repugnant alike to her feelings and her taste. 

Ashley Leigh being dead, as Darby supposed, he considered 
this an additional reason why Marian should yield to his 
wishes. 

She had lately recovered her serenity, and was singing when 
Darby entered, which made him believe that she had quite 
forgotten her first love. 

'Oh, good morning,' she exclaimed, when >he saw him, 
leaving off her song. ' I will tell papa you are here.' 

1 Phase do nothing of the sort,' he said. ' It is with you I 
wish to talk.' 

'With me ." 

.Marian Ingledew elevated her eyebrows with surprise 

Wbat could Darby have to say to her I 

She did not suspect for n moment that he had the audacity 
to love her, and tell her of his passion. 

'I must chance offending yon, Miss Ingledew— Marian, if I 
may call you so,' he began. 

'If you call me by my Christian name, but,' she said, pur- 
posely omitting on all occasions to give him his title, -you will 
be guilty of an unpardonable presumption.' 

•Forgive me, I had hoped it was otherwise; thai I had 

made some impression upon your heart.' 

• My heart I Whatever can you mean? Excuse me foi 
laughing, but it ifl too ridiculous, she said, giving unrestrained 

way to her mirth. 

Darby reddened to the ro its of his hair. 



56 HELD IN THRALL. 

' This is no laughing matter, Miss Ingledew,' he said, gravely. 

' You are right,' she answered. ' It is not. I thank you 
for recalling me to myself. I am about to leave you now, sir, 
and I shall repeat all that has passed between us to my father, 
and beg him to exert himself to protect me from similar 
annoyance for the future.' 

' So will I talk to your father,' cried Darby, angrily, ' and I 
think I can say that which will induce him to teach you to be 
more civil when I next speak to you.' 

' Indeed,' said Marian, her lip curling with supreme contempt ; 
' that is just the kind of speech I expected from you.' 

' You seem to forget who I am,' he exclaimed. 

' Oh, no. I never can forget that,' she replied, with deep 
meaning. 

Darby bit his nether lip till the blood came. 

Marian walked from the room, with a queenly dignity she 
knew well how to assume. 

' I'll bring her down on her knees,' he muttered ; ' or out of 
this house they go, and the old man shall see the inside of the 
debtor's ward of the county jail.' 

He paced the room, impatiently, for some time, guessing that 
Marian would proceed at once to her father, who would, in his 
turn, seek him. 

Nor was he mistaken. 

Mr. Ingledew, a little excited, came into the drawing-room, 
and, in a nervous manner, peculiar to him, exclaimed — 

'What am I to understand, Lord Cariston, from what my 
daughter has just related to me? ' 

' Only that she is a wayward child, sir, and I am her most 
devoted admirer,' answered Darby. 

' I am sorry for you, then, as she assures me she is indis- 
solubly wedded to the past.' 

'The past?' 

' That is to say, she can never forget Mr. Ashley Leigh.' 

' In that case, she has an odd way of showing her grief,' 
answered Darby. ' She always seems merry enough, and was 
singing when I came in.' 

'It is but for you to understand, once for all, I think, my 
lord, that you have no chance of gaining my daughter's love.' 

4 No chance,' repeated Darby, slowly. 

' None whatever.' 

'Very well,' continued Darby, 'now, Mr. Ingledew, let us 



LAUGIJED AT. O, 

talk about a little matter of business which nearly concerns 
you.' 

'If you please,' replied Mr. [ngledew, looking rather sur- 
prised. 

'You are aware, I presume, that Heart's Content is my 
property ? ' 

'Ah, yes; but I will pay you a rent for it, if that is what 
you want,' said the old gentleman, still more nervously. 

lie was much attached to the old place, and it would have 
cost him a pang to leave it. 

'Have you forgotten that during the lifetime of the late 
Lord Cariston, you borrowed money from him V 

' 1 recollect it perfectly.' 

' Aud the amount?' 

' Several thousands.' 

'For which you gave him bonds?' 

• I did,' said Mr. Ingledew. 'But ' 

• What?' asked Darby. 

'Lord Cariston assured me that those bonds bad been 
cancelled. He threw them into the fire, I think he said, and 
assured me I should never hear of them again.' 

'Possibly he intended to do so; but those bonds are in 
existence; are in my hands, Mr. Ingledew, and as a part of 
my patrimony, have become mine. Now, what I want to ask 
you is where would you be if I w r ere to press for payment of 
these bonds?' 

Darby spoke in a loud tone of triumph. 

Mr Ingledew was completely thunderstruck at this question. 

At length he answered, 'God, in his mercy only know-.' 

He -an k into a chair, and sighing heavily began to stir tip 
the fire, in a restless and uneasy manner. 

Darby watched him with a sense of superiority, and enjoyed 
his victory. 

' I could not pay it,'said Mr. Ingledew, in a hollow voice, 
4 that is certain. I could not possibly pay you.' 



58 HELD IN THRALL. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

EXPULSION. 

' I don't want to be hard upon you,' said Darby, in a patro- 
nising roice, ' and if you wculd only use your influence with 
your daughter, all might be settled in a friendly way.' 

' In what way ? ' said Mr. Ingledew, looking on. 

• Why, just make us man and wife, aud you could live here 
for ever.' 

'You do my daughter too much honour, my lord,' the old 
man replied, with a tinge of sarcasm in his voice. 

' Oh ! no, not at all,' said Darby, mistaking his meaning, 
' I know she has not a penny, and your family is nothing ; but 
she is a passable girl enough and I have taken a fancy to her. 
that is the long and short of it. 

Mr. Ingledew's face became burning hot. 

'- 1 believe it is a good thing for lords to marry commoners 
sometimes,' continued Darby, puffed up 'with pride. ' Of 
course I make a sacrifice, but she's worth it. I do think she's 
worth it.' 

'Now, my lord, allow me to speak,' said Mr. Ingledew, with 
sudden energy. 

' Certainly,' said Darby, putting his hands in his pockets 
and setting his back to the fire. 

' Do you suppose that I would force my daughter's will, or 
sacrifice her happiness for an hour even, to render my position 
more bearable ? ' 

' If you are not an idiot, I should think you would,' Darby 
answered, coarsely. 

' Do you dare to use such language to me, and in my own 
house,' shouted the antiquary, white with passion. 

'Your house ? ' sneered Darby. ' That is questionable.' 

' At all events, it is mine till I leave. Come what may, I 
will be master now, aud I order you to quit it instantly.' 

' But, my dear sir, Marian ' 

' I forbid you to mention her name. Out of my house, this 
instant,' vociferated Mr. Ingledew. 



EXPULSION. o& 

'You shall repent ih is,' exclaimed Darby, going towards the 
door. 

Mr. Ingledew sank once more into his chair, inarticulate 
with rage. 

Darby, seeing that his farther stay at present would be 
useless, quitted the apartment and mounted his horse. 

'There is something very odd about these gentlemeu, as 
theft term themselves.' lie said to himself, as he rode along. 
'You never know how to speak to them for fear of offending 
them. It is impossible for a man, who has not been brought 
up amongst them, ever to hope to understand them.' 

Marian saw her suitor ride away, and anxiously sought 
her father, to hear in what manner he had got rid of him 

She found the old gentleman much perturbed, and inquired 
the cause of his grief. 

' Ah, my dear,' he said, ' it was a bad day for all of us 
when this young fellow came into the title and estates. What 
do }'ou think he threatened me with 1 ' 

' I cannot tell ; though I can readily imagine anything to 
his prejudice,' replied Marian. 

' With expulsion from Heart's Content, unless — unless ' 

He hesitated. 

' Unless I consented to marry him. Was it not so ? ' 

Mr. Ingledew nodded. 

'Have him for a husband, indeed,' continued Marian, with 
a toss of the head. 'I would rather live and die an old maid. 
But can he, papa, do as he says? ' 

' I fear he can,' answered Mr. Ingledew. 

'How is that?" 

'Being on such very friendly terms with the late Lord 
Cariston, I never asked him for a Lease, my dear. It would 
have seemed that I distrusted him. I could not do it; nor 
did there appear any necessity for it as we were sure of 
Ashley Leigh's protection. Consequently, I am merely what 
the lawyers call a teuant-at-will, and can be turned out at 
any moment.' 

'Cannot Lady Cariston do something .' ' 

' Nothing at all.' 

'Well, we must go somewhere else; that is the Long and 
short of it,' answered Marian. ' I am Borry for you, dear 
papa, but you would not wish me to marry that man t" Bav9 
you a little inconvenience ? ' 



'60 HELD IN THRALL. 

' Certainly not. That is precisely what I told him.' 

' Oh, we can laugh at his threats.' 

' You have not heard the worst yet.' 

' Indeed ! ' 

■ I borrowed money from my old friend Cariston,' Mr. 
Ingledew went on, ' and the securities I gave for the advances 
are still in existence, and have fallen into the hands of this 
villain, who will seize and imprison me.' 

' He dare not be so base.' 

' In my opinion he is capable of anything.' 

Lady Cariston and Mona, who had been out for a walk 
together, came in at this juncture, and were very indignant at 
the news which awaited them. 

It mattered very little to Mona ; but she felt really angry 
at Darby's having proposed to Marian, while she was pleased 
in proportion at his having been rejected. 

' Let him do his worst ; perhaps his career ma/ not be so 
prosperous as he anticipates,' said Lady Cariston. 

' You forget, my lady,' Mona ventured to say, ' that you are 
speaking of your son.' 

' I have never acknowledged him as my son,' was the stern 
and uncompromising answer, ' I have steadily believed, and 
assert him to be an impostor. 

' The evidence was clear enough,' said Mona. 

' Not to me.' 

' At least to Lord Cariston and his advisers,' Mona persisted. 

' Pray do not irritate me, Miss Seafield,' said her ladyship, 
petulantly ; ' what interest have you in supporting his claim.' 

' I ! oh, none whatever.' 

'Then please cease doing so, as your advocacy annoys me.' 

Mona walked out of the room and went up one flight of 
stairs, as if she intended to change her things ; but altered her 
mind, and, quitting the house, walked across the fields to 
Hartshill Castle. 

' Is it not strange that your governess should be such a 
partizan of this young Chiverton ? ' remarked Lady Cariston. 

'I think she admires him,' said Marian with a smile. 

4 Or his position,' said her ladyship, drily. 

For a long time the position of affairs was talked over. 

No satisfactory conclusion was arrived at. As we have 
stated, Lady Cariston was left very poorly provided for; owing 
to her husband's dying intestate, and in so sudden a manner, 
that he could make no sort of provision for her. 



EXPULSION. 61 

It followed, therefore, that she was unable to help Mr. 
Ingledew with pecuniary assistance. 

•If the worst comes,' Bhe .-aid, ' I am resolved Marian shall 
not marry, him; but, perhaps, before the crisis comes, the 
storm, which is gathering over the usurper's head Avill burst.' 

' To what storm do you allude,' asked Mr. Ingledew. 

' I cannot say more at present, even to you, my dear old 
friend,' answered Lady Caristoq. 'But trust mc, there are 
foes at work which are antagonistic to this young man.' 

These words set Mr. ingledew thinking : but, returning to 
his study, he soon forgot all his troubles in examination of a 
curious fossil, which had been dug np by a labourer near the 
ruins of the abbey. 

The winter, though not very severe lost the intensity with 
which it set in. February appeared mild and genial for that 
time of the year, and Mona had an agreeable walk through the 
adds to Hartshill Castle. 

While crossing them she heard the sound of a gun, and. 
presently, Darby appeared, a little to the left of her ; he had 
reached home, and gone out with his dogs after the partridges. 

lie saluted her gruffly, and was going on over the heavy 
ground. 

Mona had remarked that he had avoided her for some time 
past, but she had no intention of allowing him to escape this 
time. 

1 He wants to kick down the ladder by which he rose,' she 
said ; adding aloud, ' I have come over on purpose to see you, 
and I request that you will stay and talk to me. 1 

'I don't wish to do so,' he answered, 'why should I! 
Haven't I paid you the money you asked for .' What more do 
you want? ' 

•More money. Double, treble, the amount yon have given 
me. Do you not know that people musi be paid for keeping 
secrets, Darby Chiverton .' ' 

The cohl, hard voice in which she .-poke rendered Darby 
uneasy. 

'I shall go abroad, it' I am to be worried in this way,' be 
.-aid, with the sulky air of a contradicted child. 

• Possibly you will. But if you do, the government -hall 

pay your passage. I will take care of thai ! ' answered Mona. 
'Don't talk like that. Let"- ha\e n<> foolishness,' .-aid 

Durby, growing still more uneasy. 'If its money your in 



62 HELD IN THRALL. 

want of, I'll find it for you. I suppose you want to start in 
some business, eh ? The fancy goods and Berlin wool line, 
eh?' 

Mona smiled disdainfully at this suggestion. 
What a very bad judge of chai*acter and human nature, 
especially female human nature, Darby was! 

' You have proposed to Miss Ingledew ? ' she said, not caring 
to answer him. 

« 1 did, and ' 

'She refused you. It is as well for you to learn that there 
as no chance in that quarter.' 

' I'll make her have me. I'll turn them out of house and 
home, and put the lather in prison ! ' said Darby, threateningly. 
' That will do you no good. You will be no nearer the 
object of your ambition than you were before. The girl hates 
you and will not be dazzled by your rank and fortune. The 
effect will be simply this — Mr. Ingledew will go through the 
bankruptcy court ; and Marian will live with Lady Cariston 
until their affairs are settled.' 

' She'll submit, if she loves her father: and the old "man's 
fond of the place. He's lived at Heart's Content so many 
years.' 

' That does not matter,' replied Moua, in her decisive way. 
' Marian will never be yours ; so you may as well dismiss the 
idea from your mind at once and for ever ; and as you are so 
fond of threatening, listen to me.' 
« To you ! ' 

' Yes. Why should I not threaten in my turn ? ' asked Mona, 
with a mocking laugh. ' I am in a position to do so. Do you 
think that when I conceived the idea of placing you where you 
now are, that I should be satisfied with a few paltry 
thousands ? ' 

' I run all the risk ! ' Darby said. 

'Listen to me!' cried Mona, impatiently. 'Don't suppose 
for a moment that I have any affection for you. But I, never- 
theless, want you to make me Lady Cariston.' 

' What ! ' said Darby, completely astounded. ' Marry 
you ! ' 

' That is the way in which you can save yourself from 
^destruction. I have made, and I can unmake.' 
' You know I love Marian,' he said in confusion. 
' Put love out of the question. It need not exist with you 



EXPULSION. 63 

and I ; settle a handsome sum upon me and we will separate on 
the day of the marriage. All I want is the title, and money 
enough to support the position.' 

'But once married, how can I ever hope to possess 
Marfan ? ' 

' You have no chance. Have I not told you so ? Why will 
you persist in chasing a phantom 1 ' 

' One word.' 

'The matter will not hear argument; it is a waste of time. 
Make me a friend if you will, and live in peace and prosperity. 
Make me an enemy, and see what will happen. I "will shatter 
my work to pieces. You are a thing of my hands, just as much 
as if you were so much potter's clay. 

While speaking, they had been standing near a hedge ; and 
had been guilty of an imprudence in not moving farther afield. 

Darby was trembling violently, when he heard a noise, ap- 
parently coming from the ditch. 

Being physically strong, he leaped through a gap, Mona 
watching him anxiously. 

There was almost immediately the sound of a scuffle. 

Loud cries arose. 

Presently Darby re-appeared, dragging after him the body 
of a man, which he kicked and cuffed unmercifully. 

' I'll teach you to listen in ditches, you cowardly vagabond ! ' 
he said. 'This isn't the first time you have played the spy on 
me, you miserable hound ! ' 

With an effort the man released himself from Darby's power- 
ful grasp, and retreating a few paces, shook himself, and 
collected his confused senses. 

With an inward tremor and a sinking of the heart, Mona 
recognised Hamley Morris. 

She had always entertained a distrust of this man. 

How much of their conversation had he overheard ? 

This was the alarming question which presented itself both 
to her mind and that of Darby. 

Hamley Morris did not seem much worse for the shaking 
and beating he had received. He arranged his coat, and bow- 
ing to Mona, said — 

' Delightful place for conspirators to meet, Miss Scafield.' 

'What do you mean, sir?' she answered, with some 
composure. ■ 

'I have to thank you,' he said, ' for placing me in posses- 



64 HELD IN TIIUALL. 

sion of much valuable information, which, T have no doubt, I 
shall know how to turn to good account. Up to the present 
time, although I had suspected it, I was not aware that you 
and Mr. Chiverton were acting in concert, and that you were, 
if I may express myself, the motive power in the plot which 
has made him Lord Cariston. At present I have the honour 
to wish you good-morning. You shall hear of me again, 
shortly. I will not forget the attention you have shown me 
to-day.' 

This address threw them both into much alarm. 
The mock politeness with which Hamley Morris spoke was 
more terrifying than open menaces. 

As he walked away, Darby grasped his gun nervously. 
' Not now,' said Mona, laying her hand upon his arm. 
' The meddling fool,' answered Darby. ' I had a mind to 
put a charge of shot in him.' 

' He knows too much. I think he must be in the pay of 
Lady Cariston, and is brought down here especially to serve 
her ends and unravel the mystery which she supposes 
exists.' 

' What shall we do ? ' asked Darby, in perplexity. 
* We are not safe while that man lives. Can you find your 
father?' asked Mona. 

' Yes, without difficulty. He has sent me a note, saying he 
wants to see me.' 

' Ah, he is anxious to have his reward. You must see 
him.' 

< To what end 1 ' 

' Give or promise him what money he wants,' replied Mona. 
' But only on condition that he puts this man out of the way. 
A shot from behind a hedge will do it safely. When people 
play for the high stakes that we do, they must not hesitate at 
trifles.' 

'I will see the old man,' Darby replied. 
' You fully understand what I mean ? ' 
' I do. Leave it to me.' 

' I will do so ; and the other matter in negociation between us 
will stand over for a few days. This is a pressing danger and 
must be first attended to.' " 

Darby again promised that he would see Daddy Chiverton 
without delay, and Mona, ill at ease, left him to return to Heart's 
Content. 



EXPULSION. 65 

The appearance of Ilamley Morris on the scene, in the 
character of an enemy, had somewhat disarranged her ambi- 
tions schemes, and she was sure that no security could be 
enjoyed while he continued to exist. 

Darby shouldered his gun, and instead of going back to the 
castle, walked straight to the wood at the skirts of which Daddy 
Chiverton's cottage was situated. 

About an hour's brisk walking brought him to it. 

The old man had been getting impatient for his reward, or 
his share of the plunder, as Mona had surmised, and knowing 
that his son would obey his summons at his earliest convenience, 
he was waiting about for him. 

The thin smoke curled up from the little chimney, and 
Darby, pushing the door open, walked in. 

Daddy Chiverton was sitting before the fire, smoking a short 
clay pipe, black from constant use. 

He did not rise as his son entered. 

Pointing to a broken cane-bottomed chair, he motioned him 
to sit down. 

' Ycu have been a long time coming, or I should not have 
written to you,' he said. 

' What do you want 1 ' asked Darby, laconically. 

'Money, my lad; not a heap down, but something every 
quarter.' 

1 You can't spend it here.' 

'I don't intend to try,' answered Daddy Chiverton. 'Now 
you're a lord there's a great distance between us, and I 
couldn't mix with your friends, so I'm going to take myself 
off, right away.' 

' Where are you going to ? ' 

' I don't know yet. London first, I think.' 

' You shall have what you ask for,' replied Darby. ' But 
there is something you must do for it; a man has been set on 
to watch me, by her ladyship, and he's found out a good deal ; 
he must be put out of the way. You lay wait for him, and 
fire at him, some fine night. Nobody will suspect you, and 
in London you'll bo safe enough.' 

' It's as had as thai, is it?' queried the old man. 

' Yes,' replied Darby, gloomily. 

'Who is the man?' 

'His name is Hamley Morris, he lodges at Farmer 
Painter's, the Low Wood Farm.' 

F 



66 HELD IN THRALL. 

' I know it.' 

There was a silence of some minutes' duration. 

' You must not be turned out now, Darby ; that would 
never do. I want to live an idle life in London, and have 
plenty to eat, and drink, and smoke, like a gentleman, and 
nothing to do for it. This Hamley Morris shan't stand in 
the way,' said Daddy Chiverton. 

; You'll do the job ? ' 

' Trust me. I'll manage it. Leave him to me,' said the 
father, with a malevolent glance. ' All you have to do is to 
place a hundred pounds, every quarter, for me in the bank at 
Stanton, and I'll send for it from London ; and give me some- 
thing to start with.' 

Darby careless'y tossed him his purse. 

' There is a lot in it. I don't know how much,' he said. 

' I daresay it will do. I can always write for more,' 
answered Daddy. 

' Is that all ! ' asked Darby. 

' Yes. I don't know as I have anything more to say to 
you.' 

' Then I'll be going ' said this dutiful son. 

Shouldering his gun again, Darby nodded to his father and 
quitted the cottage. 

Old Daddy remained plunged in thought for some time, 
thinking over the commission to murder, which had been 
given him. 

Rising after a time, he said to himself — 

'I'll go and potter about the Low Wood Farm, to get a 
look at this Hamley Morris. It won't do to make a mistake 
in an affair of this sort.' 



67 



CHAPTER IX. 

ON THE TRACK. 

Daddy Chiverton was well known all about the country, 
and when he sauntered up to the out-buildings of Low Wood 
Farm he saw a couple of men in the employ of Mr. Painter, 
the farmer, who spoke good-humouredly to him. 

' Easy time now, Daddy,' said one. 

1 How's that ? ' he asked. 

' Your son's a gentleman, and you've no call to work.' 

' Oh ! I like doing nothing,' replied Daddy Chiverton. 

' You've done it all your life nearly,' said the man, ' and 
you ought to be used to it now. I don't call poaching any- 
thing, you know, Daddy.' 

' Never mind me. Let me alone,' said the old man, nettled 
at these remarks, ' what are you about? ' 

' Just going to get the shay ready to take Mr. Morris to 
Stanton,' was the answer. 

' Who's he ? ' 

' A gentleman lodging with our governor.' 

' Do you drive him ? ' 

• I shall to-day. There and back.' 

' What time do you return ? ' 

1 After dark, I suppose. Put you're asking a lot of questions. 
What is it to you what time we come back ? ' 

'Oh, nothing much. Good-day to you,' said the old man, 
walking on. 

' lie's a character,' said the farm-labourer, whose name was 
Dennis, to his companion. 

' Ah ! they're all a bad lot,' was the reply. 

'That's true as Gospel ; though they have had :i wonderful 
rise ID the world,' remarked Dennis. 

Daddy Chiverton was satisfied with the intelligence he had 
gained. It was not necessary for him to Identify personally 
llamley Morris. He was well acquainted with Dennis, and 
B8 the hitter was going to drive .Mr. Morris to Stanton, in 

former Painter's chaise, he could not make a mistake, for the 

p 2 



68 HELD IN THRALL. 

man who occupied the second seat in the trap would be the 
victim he wanted to kill. 

This was how he reasoned. 

Going back to his cottage, he loaded his gun, which was 
double-barrelled, and waited for night. 

At half-past eight the moon would rise,and he wouldbs 
enabled distinctly to see objects passing along the road. 

He was accounted an excellent shot, and was wont to boast 
that he never missed his aim. 

When it grew dark, he took up a position by the side of the 
road, hiding himself, but reserving a gap through which he 
could see and fire when he had covered the object of his aim. 
Very slowly the time passed. 

Daddy Chiverton saw the moon rise, and its rays silver 
everything that came within their influence. 

When he was nearly worn out with watching and cold, 
for it was a clear, frosty night, and his cramped position 
was becoming painful, he heard the sound of wheels. 

There was nothing much in that. 

Several carts and carriages had passed him but something 
told him that now his victim was approaching. 

He trusted his murderous instinct, cocked his gun, and 
raised it to a position. 

A chaise, drawn by one horse, came in sight. 

It was driven by Dennis, and by his side was a tall man, 
with a bushy beard and whiskers. 

Without his being aware of it, Daddy Chiverton's shadow 
was partly cast across the road. 

When the chaise was near enough, Chiverton drew the 
trigger, but just at that moment the old mare which drew the 
gig shied at the shadow so providentially made manifest, and 
the chaise swerved on one side, so that the bullet grazed the 
tip of the horse's ear, and did no harm. 

Daddy Chiverton uttered a curse, and fired a second time y 
but not under such favourable circumstances. 

The gig was being carried along at a tremendous pace by 
the mare as the ball rattled after it, and it lodged in the wood- 
work behind without doing any further damage. 

Thinking the last shot had done its work, Daddy Chiverton 
determined to take himself off to London by some train going 
up that night. 

On his way to Stanton he passed a fish-pond, into which he- 



ON THE TRACK. 69 

his gun, and gaining the railway Btation, he booked himself 
to the Metropolis. 

When the train came up he got into a third-class carriage, 
and was "whirled swiftly aloug the iron road. 

As may he imagined, the attack made upon the gig startled 
its inmates not a little. 

Dennis, do what he could, was unable to pull the mare up, 
until covered with foam, and with quivering flanks, she reached 
the homestead. 

Dismounting from the chaise, Ilamley Morris examined it 
and found the bullet-hole. 

' A narrow escape for both of us, sir,' said Dennis, joining 
him. 

' For me, not for you. I expected something of this sort,' 
answered Morris, quietly, 'and I was prepared.' 

As he spoke he unbuttoned the front of his shirt, and 
showed Dennis a coat of mail, the chainwork being very finely 
made. 

'I always wear this,' he added 'when I expect danger, and 
even if the clumsy ruffian had hit me I should not have been 
killed.' 

'Then you don't suppose it was robbers, sir?' asked Dennis. 

' Certainly not.' 

' May I make so bold as to ask who it was ? ' 

'You may; but you won't get an answer, my good fellow,' 
said Ilamley Morris, with a smile. 

' Am I to say anything about it, sir ? ' continued the man. 

" 1 1 i- not a secret. Say what you like.' 

Alter partaking of a cup of tea at tin; farm, Ilamley Morris 
walked on to Heart's Content, and had an interview with Lady 
Cariston. 

Mona .-aw him as he came away, and was putting on his coat 
in the hall. 

'The old fool missed his aim,' he said, as if talking to him- 
self. 

Mona .started. 

Ilamley .Morris looked at her, but she affected not to notice 
him, and went upstairs. 

Her Belf-possesaion under trying cirenmstancea waa wonder- 
ful. 

.Monis went to test early ami rose ai daybreak. 

He found Dennis in the yard, and said I" him — 



70 HELD IN THRALL. 

' You know the country round about pretty well, X 
suppose.' 

' I ought to do so, sir, considering I was born and bred 
here,' answered Dennis. 

1 Very well. You can earn half-a-sovereign by taking me to 
one or two places. I will explain your absence to Mr. 
Painter, should he notice it.' 

' I'm your man, sir, where to first ? ' 

* I suppose you know an eccentric character, named Daddy 
Chiverton ? ' 

'Him as had the changed son? Yes, I know him sir.' 

'I want to go to the cottage he occupied.' 

' Maybe he is at home ; and, if so, he won't like visitors ; 
he's never very sociable.' 

' He is not there. He has left this part of the country by 
this time — I'll answer for that,' rejoined Hamley Morris with a 
confident smile. ' Lead on.' 

Dennis going first, led the way to the wood, and by a short 
cut, to the cottage, which, as Morris had surmised was empty. 
Some embers were smouldering on the hearth, and in the cup- 
board were some provisions — half a loaf, cold game, and a bit 
of cheese. 

'Are you hungry ?'• said Hamley Morris, pointing to a 
pheasant which had been scarcely touched. 

'I don't care about other people's leavings, sir,' rejoined the 
man. 

' Then you are foolish,' answered Morris, taking the bird 
and eating it eagerly. 

He had had no breakfast, and was hungry. 

After this hasty meal he looked round the cottage. On the 
table was an empty brandy bottle and an old almanack, the 
first leaf of which was torn out. 

Hamley Morris took this almanack, put it in his pocket, and 
said to Dennis : 

' Come, let us be off.' 

This excited the curiousity of his companion, but he did 
not dare to ask any questions. 

Several fir plantations stretched away down past the Low 
Wood Farm to the main road. 

At a short distance from the house, skirting one of these 
plantations, the heavy step of Daddy Chiverton could be seen 
firmly marked in the damp soil. 



ON TIIE TRACK. 71 

As our friend Chiverton is not at home he may be in the 
wood. Let us see,' said Ilamley Morris. 

For some distance they followed the footsteps, although 
Dennis was at a loss to divine why or wherefore. It was at 
times difficult to follow the tracks, but Morris seemed to have 
the eyes of a Red Indian for a trail, and did not once lose 
sight of it. 

When he had gone about a league he stopped, and said to 
his companion : 

' If we go straight on where shall we arrive after a couple 
more hours' walking ? ' 

' At the main road,' answered Dennis. 

1 Good. On again.' 

Their progress was necessarily slow, and nearly an hour 
elapsed before they reached a meadow which fringed the 
highway. 

' It ought to be about here,' he said, abstractedly. 

' What ought to be \ ' asked Dennis. 

Morris did not answer him. 

The sun was now rising, melting the frost which lay upon 
the ground, and its rays revealed a large stone under the 
hedge, upon which Daddy Chiverton had sat on the night 
preceding. 

The mark of his feet in the soil were plainly to be distin- 
guished ; a few matches half burnt, and the ashes of a pipe 
lay not far off. 

Sitting down on this stone, Morris looked through a gap in 
tin- hedge, and was able to see the road. 

Speaking to Dennis, he Baid — 

1 Stroll about, and look right and left.' 

'For what ?' asked the man. 

'A piece of paper with a hole in it.' 

Almo.-t a- In- -poke' he saw a piece of paper lying on the 
grass. 

It was ragged at the edges, as if torn, and had a hole in the 

middle. 

I Ce rose to pick it up. 

The hole was (bat made by a bullet and the paper had, from 

its blackened appearance, serred for wadding. 

Dennis could resist no longer. His curiosity was devouring 
him, and lie Baid — 

'I beg your pardon, -ir, hut at the risk of offending you, I 

mu-t ask you what it all mean 



72 HELD IN THRALL. 

' It means, my man, that the person who attempted to 
murder me last night sat on this stone, his pipe in his mouth, 
and his gun between his knees ; when you and I passed he 
fired,' said Hamley Morris. 

Taking the bit of paper, which had served as wadding, he 
unrolled it. 

It was a printed paper, and in a corner were the words, 
' New and Improved Almanack,' while farther down were the 
figures 13. 

He drew from his pocket the old almanack which he had 
found on Daddy Chiverton's table. 

The thirteenth page was missing. 

' Look at that,' he said, putting it into the hand of his atten- 
dant. 

' The wicked old wretch ! ' said Dennis. *' But why did he 
fire at you ? ' 

' Because I know too much to be agreeable to certain 
parties,' was Hamley Morris's enigmatical answer. 

' You'll have him up for it, sir ? ' 

' He will be in custody in less than a week from this 
time.' 

' Our superintendent at Stanton, Mr. Lee, is the man for 
you, sir,' said Dennis, proud of a local celebrity. 

Hamley Morris made a contemptuous gesture. 

4 Mr. Lee would not put his hand on his shoulder in twelve 
months,' he said, with supreme disdain. 

They walked back to the farm. 

Hamley Morris went to his room, and soon appeared with a 
small carpet-bag. 

' Put the horse to, Dennis, I want to go to the station,' he 
said. 

' Yes, sir,' answered Dennis. 

Soon everything was in readiness, and Dennis having put 
on his best coat, jumped up to drive to Stanton. 

As they were going down the lane which led from the farm 
to the main road, they saw a man with a gun sauntering 
along. 

It was Lord Cariston. 

Darby turned round at the sound of the gig. 

On recognising Hamley Morris he became very pale. 

' Good morning, Mr. Chiverton,' said Morris, ' have you any 
message for your father 1 I shall see him in London, as I 



ON THE TRACK. {6 

shall make it my particular business to find out his where- 
abouts.' 

'You are an insolent, upstart, scoundrel, sir,' answered 
Darby, furiously. 

' Thank you,' answered Morris, with a laugh. 'You have 
described yourself exactly; ' adding ' Drive on Dennis.' 

If he had dared, Darby would have shot him dead, then and 
there, but he had a companion, and, after all, Darby, reckless as 
he might be, had a peculiar regard for his own neck. 

' I don't like all this. There is something wrong,' he said to 
himself. ' I should feel more comfortable if I had Mona always 
by my side. 1 might do worse. She is very clever, and at all 
events I should not fall alone.' 

He -wandered on for some distance, occupied with his 
thoughts. 

Looking up, he found himself on the outskirts of the pro- 
perty owned by Mr. Jonas Bloxam. 

It -was the usurer's custom to take a walk after breakfast. 

He was thus occupied when he saw Darby advancing 
towards him, and he exclaimed, ' Ah, how do you do ? We 
have not had the pleasure of meeting since your elevation to 
the peerage.' 

' No,' answered Darby, drily. 

The perspiration broke out on his forehead. 

He thought of the terrible document which Mr. Jonas 
Bloxham held locked up in his strong box. 

To tell the truth, Darby would as soon have met the prince 
of darkness face to face, as encounter Mr. Jonas Bloxam, the 
usurer. 



74 



CHAPTER X. 

MARRIED. 

There was an easy familiarity about Mr. Jonas Bloxam's 
manner which was anything but agreeable to Darby. 

The usurer took his arm and walked about with him up and 
down the pleasant meadows, chatting about his elevation to the 
peerage, and the extraordinary luck which had attended his 
efforts to raise himself in the social scale, as Mr. Bloxam called 
the conspiracy which had dispossessed Ashley Leigh of his 
own. 

Darby thought this would be a good opportunity to ask 
Mr. Bloxam for the dangerous and incriminatory document 
which he held in his custody. 

He had long had a desire to do so, but he had put off the 
disagreeable task from day to day, he scarcely knew why. 

' I am glad I have met you,' he said. ' For I wish to give 
you back your money, and get out of your debt.' 

' With all my heart,' answered the usurer. ' Come with 
me into my house. We can soon settle our business.' 

They turned their steps in the direction of the house, 
Darby saying that he liked to be on friendly terms with his 
neighbours. 

'Yes,' replied Mr. Bloxam. 'It is always advisable to 
cultivate friendly relations with those in the same county with 
you ; much that is agreeable or disagreeable depends upon it ; 
but I am scarcely a fitting companion for your lordship.' 

There was a slightly sarcastic emphasis on the word which 
was not lost upon Darby. 

' That is all nonsense. You are as good as I am,' he said, 
with a laugh. 

' You and I know that, but the people who look upon you 
as the veritable Lord Cariston ' 

' So I am,' said Darby quickly. 

' What about that little document which I have in my strong 
box ? ' asked the usurer, smiling blandly. ' That confession 



MAURI ED. i<> 

in your own handwriting which proves you to be an impostor. 
"What about that, eh, my friend ! ' 

'Surely, Mr. Bloxam,' answered Darby, gravely, 'you 
were not so foolish as to suppose that any reliance could be 
placed upon that V 

' Foolish — reliance — what do you mean ? ' 

' I wanted money, and when a man is necessitous he will 
commit any act of folly to fill his pockets." 

'Oh, that is it?' 

'Certainly. I did it to humour you. It was absolutely 
necessary that I should have the money. You had your whim ; 
which was that I should place myself in your power, as you 
phrased it. To humour you, I made a confession, dictated by 
you ; but on my word of honour, there is no truth whatever 
in what I wrote on that sheet of paper. Burn it Mr. Bloxam, 
for it is not worth a penny-piece.' 

Jonas Bloxam looked at Darby, with a twinkle in his 
cunning gray eye. 

' Do you think a jury would believe that, Darby Chiverton ? ' 
he exclaimed. 

'They could not help themselves.' 

' Stuff! ' cried the usurer ; ' let us have none of this child's 
play. I am a man of the world; and a great criminal like you 
should have his wits about him. Sometimes I doubt whether 
you and your father could have got up this plot between you. 
There must have been an accomplice, and I ask myself who it i-.' 

Darby enjoyed the old man's perplexity. 

'I suppose,' he said, 'you think you can insult those who 
are in your debt. Fortunately, I can now do without you, and 
when I have discharged my obligation to you, we shall meet on 
even terms.' 

' 1 1 ere we are, come in, you know your way,' said the usurer, 
throwing open the front door of his house. 

Darby found himself ushered into the room he had been 
introduced into before. There was no alteration in its appear- 
ance. Taking up a pen, ho drew a blank cheque from hi 
waistcoat-pocket, ami -aid carelessly. 

• What amount shall 1 till it up fort ' 

It was wonderful to see how easily Darby had adapted him- 
self to the position (.t'a man of fortune. There was very little 
refinement about him, but he, nevertheless, carried himself with 
some dash, and a certain knowledge of the world. 



76 HELD IN THRALL. 

Jonas Bloxam leisurely unlocked his desk, and took from it 
the acceptance which Darby had given him, then placed it 
before him, and said : — 

' There are the figures.' 

Darby filled up the cheque. 

' Now for the confession, as you call it,' he said. 

' Give me the cheque,' answered the usurer. 

' No, no. Both at the same time. I cannot trust you any 
more than you can me.' 

Jonas Bloxam sat back in his chair, and very composedly 
said : — 

' That document, which will enable me to consign you to 
penal servitude, shall never go out of my possession. Please 
yourself about giving me the cheque ; all I can tell you is, if 
it be not handed to me, I shall place the matter in the hands 
of the police, and you may take the consequencies.' 

Darby quivered Avith rage ; this was succeeded by a violent 
trembling ; beads of perspiration stood on his forehead. 

Jonas Bloxam regarded all these signs of trepidation with 
visible contempt. 

What a terrible man the usurer was. 

The country people had not exaggerated when they spoke of 
him as a man to be dreaded, One who would get the better of 
any half-dozen ordinary men. 

' Those who sup with the devil should have a long spoon,' 
says the proverb. 

Between his knees was his gun, and Darby seizing it with 
the rapidity of lightning, presented it at Jonas Bloxam. 

' Come ! ' he said, ' I don't leave the house without that 
writing.' 

The usurer remained perfectly unmoved. 

' It seems to me, my young friend,' he answered, ' that you 
will, under those circumstances, stay here a long while.' 

' How is that 1 ' 

' I invariably keep important papers at my banker's.' 

Darby lowered his gun. 

' I insist upon examining your desk,' he said. 

' As you please.' 

Jonas Bloxam shrugged his shoulders, and pushed the desk 
over to him. 

It was unlocked. 

In vain Darby searched among its manifold contents for 
he precious document he so much wanted to get hold of. 



MARRIED. 77 

It was not to be found. 

'Are you satisfied now .' ' enquired the usurer. 

Darby tore up the cheque he had written. 

'No money,' he said, 'until that paper is forthcoming. I 
might BS well be without the title and money, as live with a 
drawn sword over my head.' 

'I will give you a week,' answered Jonas Bloxam. 'If you 
are obstinate at the end of that time, and blind to your own 
interests, I will give Lady Cariston some news for which she 
will be grateful.' 

'And prove yourself an accessory after the fact,' retorted 
Darby. 

The usurer had not given him credit for knowing so much law. 

He gnawed his nether lip. 

'That is nothing,' he said, with some decrease in his 
former confidence. 

• Very well, we shall see,' replied Darby, oracularly ; 
adding, 'Not a halfpenny without that document ; never mind 
whether it he true or false, or whether I attach importance to 
it or not, I'll have it. Good morning.' 

The usurer returned his salutation, and Darby, putting on 
his hat, left the house. 

4 Touch and go,' ejaculated Jonas Bloxam, when alone. ' I 
thought every minute he would have discovered the secret 
drawer. However, it is well, so far ; though he is more 
difficult to work than I imagined. No will give way, I think, 

under a judicious Bystem of terrorism. I must turn matters 
over in my mind. Who is his accomplice? That is what I 
Bhould like to know." 

While Jonas Bloxam was plunged in deep thought, Darby 
wendeil his way to Heart's Content, shooting oarelessly as he 

went along, and not taking the trouble to pick up his game 

when he bad killed any. 

He began to lie conscious that the cloudfl were gathering 
around him, and a storm was brewing which would bur-: over 

hi.- devoted bead, unless he managed his afiairs so well a- to 
l*i event it. 

On his way to Heart's Content he looked in at lii father's 

cottage, ami found it deserted. 

The mysterious bint which had been thrown out led him to 
believe that Daddy Chiverton had failed in lii^ attempt to kill 
the stranger ft im London, a- he calf 1 Moi ris. 



78 HELD IN THRALL. 

Here was another enemy at large. 

Darby felt the want of moral support more every hour. 

Mona, with her strong will, great tact, real cleverness, and 
indomitable courage, would be a valuable helpmate indeed. 

He resolved to stifle his love for Marian Ingledew, and make 
Mona his wife. 

That important step would conciliate one who might be a 
most formidable enemy. 

With her judicious counsel at his back he might be able to 
fight against Hamley Morris and Jonas Bloxam. At all 
events, her interest would be identical with his own, and they 
would stand or fall together. 

His reception was cold in the extreme. 

Lady Cariston and Marian were in the drawing-room when 
he was announced, and they promptly quitted the apartment 
as soon as he entered, without taking the slightest notice 
of him. 

This coolness annoyed him, and he vowed inwardly that he 
would be revenged, by letting the house to Captain Scudamore 
for a shooting-box, and turning them out, to go whithersoever 
they pleased. 

He asked for Miss Seafield. 

The domestic summoned her, and Mona, looking as queen- 
like as ever, walked into the room, and asked him what he 
wanted. 

'My object incoming to Heart's Content is twofold,' he 
said. ' In the first place, Hamley Morris is alive, and has 
gone to London, to look for the old man, who, I suppose, has 
missed his aim. The affair has been bungled somehow ; and 
the old man has left his cottage.' 

'What then? ' replied Mona, frigidly. 
' As for the other matter, it concerns you.' 
' Well ! ' 

' If you are still of the same mind, there is my hand ; and I 
will go to church with you whenever you like,' said Darby, 

bluntly. . 

< Let me see,' said Mona, ' to-day is Friday. On Monday I 
will marry you privately at Stanton ; that is to say, there 
shall be no parade, no public display ; make your arrange- 
ments accordingly ; and see about the licence, and all that.' 
' On Monday. Shall I come here for you 1 ' 
« I will meet you in the church at half-past eleven.' 






MARRIED. 79 

* The parish church ? ' 
'Yes.' 

Never perhaps was a marriage arranged in so cold and 
formal a manner between any two people. 

When Darby looked at the magnificent creature before him; 
•whose only fault was that she resembled a statue a little too 
much, he thought that she amply compensated for the loss of 
Marian. 

Extending his hand to take leave, he said — 

' We may as well seal the compact with a kiss ! ' 

She repulsed him, almost roughly. 

' You have no right to do that yet ! ' she said. 

' I didn't mean any harm,' he answered, as he shrank back. 

He was afraid of this woman. 

* Stop a moment,' said Mona, as he neared the door. 
' Did you call me? ' he asked. 

* Yes. What is the amount of your income ? ' 
' Twenty thousand a year, Snarley tells me.' 
'Who is Snarley?' 

' The Stanton lawyer I have employed,' answered Darby. 

' Some fellow who will rob you through thick and thiu, I 
suppose ? ' she said, with a sneer. 

1 1 don't know. lie got my father and I off for poaching 
very cleverly more than once, when the case was dead against 
us.' 

' Never mind that. Tell him to draw up deeds of settlement, 
giving me half your income ! ' said Mona. 

' Half! ' ejaculated Darby, alarmed at the magnitude of the 
sum she asked for. 

' What is there to surprise you in that ? ' she said quickly ; 
' am I to have no compensation ? ' 

'For what?' 

' For marrying you, to be sure.' 

Her tone was dreadfully satirical, and he winced under it. 

< After all, I ' 

' Don't argue the point. Go and do as I tell you ; and 
when the deeds are signed, let Snarley bring them here for 
my inspection. I must be protected.' 

'Very well. It shall be done,' said Darby, seeing there was 
no help for it. 'Now may I ask. one thing in my turn ?' he 
added. 

'If you like,' she replied, in a tone of supreme indifference. 



80 UELD IN THRALL. 

' Will you try to love me, Mona 1 ' 

' I cannot make rash promises.' 

' Is that all you have to say to me 1 ' he queried, with a look 
of intense disappointment. 

' All ! ' 

This monosyllable was a death-blow to his hopes. He knew 
from that moment that he should marry a woman, who, 
having a heart to bestow, would not give it to him ; never 
would he enjoy its devotion. Its homage, its love, would all 
these be laid at the feet of another ? ' 

Time would show. 

When he went away, which he did immediately, he said to 
himself, ' wait till she is my wife. I will tame her proud 
spirit for her, or break her heart in the attempt.' 

The time between Friday and Monday elapsed very quickly. 
On Sunday, Mona, who had not been on veiy friendly terms 
with Marian, announced that she should leave Heart's Content 
on the following day. 

This announcement took Marian Ingleclew by surprise. 

They had been companions for so long a time, that she did 
not like the tie between them, such as it was, to be so rudely 
severed. 

' Is not your determination rather sudden ? ' she asked. 

' It is rather so,' was the unconcerned reply. 

'May I ask where you intend to go? ' 

' By all means. I am going to be married.' 

' To be married ! and to whom ? ' 

Marian Ingledew stared at her governess with the utmost 
surprise. 

' To Lord Cariston.' 

' To that man ! Oh, Mona, how can you, so proud, so 
refined, ever bring yourself to an alliance with such a person 1 * 
exclaimed Marian. 

'That is my business,' answered Mona, carelessly, as she 
walked to the window. 

A proud sense of triumph swelled her bosom, as she re- 
flected that she would soon gain the summit of her ambiton. 

She would, on Monday, become a peeress, and not only be 
the happy possessor of a coronet, but the mistress of vast 
wealth, such as she lad dreamed of acquiring, when she 
fancied that there was a chance of Ashley Leigh making her 
his bride. 



MAKIUED. 81 

She was climbing up to the high position she coveted. It 
did not much matter who formed the ladder by which she 
attained the giddy eminence. 

On the Monday she walked over to Stauton, and met Darby 
as appointed. 

He had procured the licence, and they were married. After 
the ceremony they went to the castle, where a splendid break- 
fast was provided, and where Darby's new friends, the officers 
cpjaftered at Stauton, and a few others, were assembled to 
meet her. 

It was a mortification to her pride, however, to find that 
the only ladies who had been iuvited were the wives of Mr. 
Snarley, the lawyer, and one or two other men holding in- 
ferior positions in the town. 

This was not the sort of society she desired, but she 
tolerated it for the time, and received the congratulations 
which were showered upon her with a calm dignity, which was 
habitual to her. 

She was not dressed as a bride, having merely worn a black 
silk dress and a sealskin jacket, a present from Marian Ingle- 
dew, in the days of their intimacy. During the progress of 
the breakfast Captain Scudamore paid Mona marked attention. 

He was very gentlemanly, in addition to being very hand- 
some, and Mona showed herself flattered by his preference. 

1 Your regiment is expected to move soon, I believe,' she 
said. 

' Yes, Lady Cariston,' — how delightful was the sound of 
the title to this unprincipled and ambitious woman. 'You 
have been correctly informed, but I am hopeful that I shall 
be a neighbour of yours, nevertheless.' 

' Indeed,' she said. 

'Yes. Your husband has kindly promised to allow me to 
rent his place called Heart's Content, which will make a 
capital hunting and shooting box. I shall sell my commission, 
for I am wretchedly tired of the army.' 

'"Would you like to live at Heart's Content 1 ' asked 
Mona. 

■ Very much.' 

' Consider that affair settled then,' she replied. ' I will take 
care that it is yours within a week.' 

'Many thanks,' said Captain Scudamore. adding, 'Do not. 

think l flatter you when 1 say that it has acquired an addi- 

G 



82 HELD IN THRALL. 

tional charm in my estimation since it will enable me to be 
so near yourself'.' 

Darby was treated by his wife as a cipher. 

He saw her flirting with Captain Scudamore, and he did 
not like it, but to have remonstrated with her just then would, 
he knew, have been to make himself ridiculous, and have 
done as much good as trying to stem the advance of the tide 
with an empty barrel. A painful suspicion crossed his mind 
that his troubles were only just beginning. 

He was soon to find that his suspicions were founded upon 
a substantial basis. 

An overwhelming tide of trouble was beating up against 
him. 

He had built his house on the sands — would it withstand the 
storm, when its foundations were shaken to their very base 
by the wind and the rain, and the furious floods which 
threatened it ? 

That was the question. 

In the evening Darby's friends often came over to see him. 
On one occasion they sat round the fire smoking and drinking, 
telling stories and relating anecdotes of this, that, and the 
other. 

Captain Scudamore gave his experience of the volunteers 
which he had joined as a young man before entering the 
army, and the story is worth preserving. It was as follows : — 



A HERO ON SKATES. 

Lord and Lady Linstock, a few years ago, gave invitations 
to a large circle of acquaintance to spend Christmas at their 
seat, Hadlow Castle. 

Among the guests were Mr. and Mrs. Saville — City people 
of some renown in the commercial world — and with them came 
their son Mortimer and their daughter Felicia. 

Mrs. Saville knew that Lord Linstock had borrowed money 
from the bank of which her husband was manager, and she 
rejoiced at being invited to Hadlow because she thought she 
might succeed in marrying her daughter to his lordship's only 
son. 

The only son of Lord and Lady Linstock was named Valen- 
tine, but all his friends, by a strange perversion of nomen- 



MARKIKD. 83 

clature, preferred calling him the Honourable Orson, owing, 
perhaps, to their retentive memories reminding them of the 
fairy tale of Valentine and Orson. 

The Honourable Valentine Bridgeman, son of Lord 
Linstock, and heir to his vast estates, was a young man of 
iive-and-twenty, handsome, engaging in his manner, polished 
in Lii.s address, but extravagant to a degree, bearing a moun- 
tain of debt upon his shoulders, and going about in tear of his 
creditors. 

He was the best rough-rider in the county. No one could 
equal him in going across country, and at all steeplechases 
the knowing ones invariably staked their money upon the 
success of the Honourable Valentine. His horses were worth 
fabulous sums ; but though he had a fine collection of plates 
and cups which he had avou, he might have bought them 
twenty or thirty times over for the money which he had 
lost. 

When Mrs. Saville told her husband that they had a 
daughter to marry, she intended to convey to her slightly 
obtuse spouse that she had her eye upon somebotby; and that 
BOmebody was no other than the Honourable Valentine Bridge- 
man. 

She knew him by report to be an idle man, and, most 
decidedly, not a sort of person whom a judicious mother would 
choose for her daughter's husband. 

At the age of eighteen to live-ami-twenty a man may be 
sowing his wild oats, ami there is a chance of reformation ; 
but at the advanced age of thirty a man settles down, ami 
accepts his characteristic- in a fatalistic manner. 

He -eems to think that he ha-- been endowed by nature with 

certain qualities, lie may he weak-, wicked, extravagant, idle, 

unambitious, a gambler, as well as a spendthrift, the posses-or 
of more vices thai virtues, but though fully conscious of his 
faults, he ceases to light againsl them. 

Valentine was at all times fonder of the stable than of the 
drawing-room : and had he lived in the days of Golden Ball 

Hughes, when it was I lie fashiOQ to drive Coaches, lie would 

probably have devoted his existence to that inglorious pastime. 

This was the man to whom the worldly and CUpidinotM Mrs. 

Saville proposed to unite her daughter 1 Poor Felicia! sensi- 
tive, exquisitely nervous, physically and mentally delicate to a 
Busceptible of the Least impression, foud, devoted, 

G 2 



84 HELD IN THRALL. 



religious ! What a life was before her if wedded to such a 
man ! 

Fortunately she was as yet unconscious of her mother's 
ambitious design, or she would have trembled for her future. 
Her heart was disengaged, but she had declared mos t solemnly 
to herself that she would never marry a man whose only 
qualifications were a handsome face, a polished and agreeable 
manner, and a fund of conversational nothings mixed with 
interesting small-talk. 

If her heart could not follow her hand, she was firm in 
her determination that her hand should never go. Only to 
think of the bare idea of standing within the altar rails and 
vowing to love and obey — in all the simply solemn language 
of the rubric — a man for whom she had no sort of affection, 
was excruciating to her. There was something awful to her 
in the contemplation of it. 

Mrs. Saville remarked with pleasure that the Honourable 
Valentine Bridgeman paid her daughter great attention. 
Mothers are good judges in such cases, and the one in ques- 
tion mentally came to the conclusion that it would end in a 
match. 

Mr. Bridgeman took Felicia from the drawing-room to 
the dining-room, and talked to her in the most engaging 
manner. During dinner a band from a neighbouring town 
attended to play selections from various operas, which they 
did in a creditable manner, but this performance slightly 
interfered with the conversation. Whenever there was a 
break in the music the Hon. Valentine Bridgeman talked to 
Felicia. 

" I am so grieved to hear that you think of leaving the 
castle, Miss Saville," he exclaimed. 

"Papa has business to attend to, you know," she replied. 

"Ah, to be sure! your father is a City man — a rich City 
man. City men always are rich as Jews — worth hundreds of 
thousands. No place like the City. I sometimes wish my 
father had brought me up to trade.' 

' What trade ? — that of dealer in horseflesh ? ' asked 
Felicia, who could not resist the temptation of making the 
remark. 

'You are hard upon me,' exclaimed Valentine, looking 
straight at her. ' It is scarcely fair to attack a man like that. 
I certainly am fond of horses ; they are darling creatures, and 



MARKIED. S5 

if I wore to marry to-morrow, I should divide my love between 
my hordes and my wife.' 

1 You mention your wife after your horses ; that is an 
insult to the entire sex, and I shall have nothing more to say 
to you — not a word. Fancy, speaking of ladies and horses in 
the same breath, as if there were any comparison between them ! ' 

Lady Linstock rose from the table, and gave a sort of 
masonic look to the ladies, which caused them to rise also, and 
they swept from the room. 

When the ladies were gone, Mortimer Saville left his seat 
and took the chair his sister had lately occupied. 

4 1 say, Saville,' exclaimed Valentine Bridgeman, ' is it really 
true that you go away to-morrow or the next day?' 

' My leave's up,' replied Mortimer Saville. ' I shall be 
hauled over the coals at the Belligerent Office if I don't show 
up before the twentieth, and, as it is, I have taken all the leave 
I am entitled to. I shall have to grind all the rest of the 
year.' 

' That's a bore ! It is, by Jove ! Why don't you go into 
the City .' ' 

'Because I don't like it. The fact is, Bridgeman, I might 
go into the City and do well. My father lias influence enough 
to gel me five hundred a-year. At present I vegetate on a 
hundred and twenty, and draw on him for what I want 
besides; but I would rather be an ensign in a marching 
regiment, or a midshipman with nothing a-year, than a City 
man. I know it is foolish, but I cannot overcome my 
prejudices.' 

'I have none of that pride about me,' replied Valentine. 
* My only fault i- a fondness for horses and a hatred of 
confinement I could no more submil to confinement than 
I could fly. I should go mad if I were boxed up in Pall 

Mall the best part of a year, like you.' 

As he -poke he took out bis watch, looked at the time, and 
exclaimed — 

'The Bardolph Bridge Volunteers come here to-night. I 
am captain of No. 2 company. Their bead-quarters are al 
Bardolph Bridge. Some of the fellows hit upon a brilliant 
idea yesterday. We have kepi h a Becrel from everybody. 
'I li ■ frosl bas lasted bo long thai the ice bears splendidly, as, 
of course, you know. Well, Bardolph Bridge ie two miles 
from here. We are three hundred Btrong, and we make lour 



86 HELD IN THRALL. 

companies. The fellows go to the stream near the bridge,, 
put on their skates, and go along the ice till they come to 
the castle. They pile arms under the walls, and have torches 
given them, which they light and go round the moat in fours 
three times, then they fire a volley, and go with the band 
playing to the Esk, spin along to Wis ton Reach, and 
come back to Hadlow to supper, which will be prepared for 
them in the banqueting room. What do you think of it ? ' 

' Capital idea,' replied Mortimer. ' The torches will have a 
very fine effect, and, as the moon is shining so brightly, 
the volunteers will look uncommonly well. Can all your 
fellows skate 1 ' 

' Oh yes. We learn to skate down here as soon as we can 
walk almost. There's nothing like a frost in our country to 
make us as jolly as sandboys.' 

Valentine went away, accompanied by Mortimer Saville, and 
sought his apartments, where, with the aid of his servant, he 
donned his uniform, a grey, turned up with blue. It was 
pretty, if not striking. 

The frost had lasted for a week with great severity, so that 
the ice was fully capable of bearing a large body of men. A 
thaw had commenced on the third day, but the wind chopped 
round to the east, again, and icicles hung from every bough. 
Spires of frost work, more delicate than the finest crystals, 
were to be seen on every blade of grass, and every one bowed 
before the terrible monarch, King Frost, who had asserted his 
sway in so marked and unmistakeable a manner. 

The prospect of a torchlight journey to Wiston Reach, and 
a supper afterwards at the castle, was so alluring as to bring 
out the entire force of the regiment. They wore gaiters, but 
not their cloaks, as the exercise they were about to take would 
have been impeded by superabundant clothing. 

It was rumoured that there would be a ball after the supper, 
but that was not generally credited, as only some dozen of 
Valentine Bridgeman's particular friends were invited. 

All at once the inspiring air for which the Bardolph Bridge 
Volunteers were famous, burst out upon the night, aided by the 
united efforts of two capital bands. 

The windows of the castle rattled again as the music floated 
against them on the frosty atmosphere, and a servant entered 
the room and opened the shutters, so that the assembled 
company might see what was going on. 



MAURIED. 87 

The volunteers had piled arms, and were standing in little 
knots, smoking and chatting merrily amongst themselves. 
They were a fine, hale, hearty body of men, inspirited by their 
two miles' run, and evidently enjoying their novel ' march 
out ' considerably. 

'Oil, this is charming, Lady Linstock ! ' cried Felicia, whose 
reserved and passive manner fled at the touch of a magician's 
watid. ' How delightful ! So kind of you, to think of such a 
surprise ! How can we thank you? ' 

Every one was equally enchanted. 

'It is all Valentine's doing. It is Valentine's surprise, is it 
not, Mr. Saville ? ' exclaimed her ladyship. ' The ladies will 
have it, in spite of my asseverations, that I am the originator 
of the rendezvous ; but you will come to my rescue, will you 
not?' 

' With the greatest pleasure,' replied Mortimer. ' It is 
Bridgeman's idea, entirely, and he has sent word by me to ask 
if you would like to dress and come to the moat. You will see 
the men march past, and I really do think that it will be a 
sight well worth seeing. The moon is magnificent, and the ice 
as firm as a rock.' 

Lady Linstock conversed in a low tone with several ladies 
who were standing round her, and at length the important 
question was settled. 

'Oh! yes,' she replied. 'We should like it above all 
things. \Vc will run and put our bonnets on. We must wrap 
up in plenty of grebe and sable this cold weather.' 

When the ladies made their re-appearance, they formed 
quite a brilliant bevy, and the whole party descended the stairs 
leading to the court-yard of the castle, through which they 
passed, and going down a Sight of steps, found a number of 
chairs placed for them at the base of the south tower. 

The Volunteers were extended over a large space of ground. 
The colonel had though! it advisable not to crowd too many on 
one particular spot, so he had distributed them at certain 
distances. 

The foremost batch were within a few yards of the ladies, 
aud close to the bands, which were opposite the south tower. 

The Hon. Valentine Bridgeman was in command of the 

fourth company, which was No. 1 on parade, and COnse- 

qnently marched first. The colonel, an old Indian and 

Crimean veteran, was talking to him. 



88 HELD IN THRALL. 

The colonel, accompanied by Valentine, advanced to Lady 
Linstock, and shook hands with her in the most cordial 
manner. 

'You have quite stormed our castle, Colonel Forest!' she 
exclaimed. ' You must take care our artillery does not open 
fire, and send you all to the bottom of the moat.' 

' Oh ! I have no particular fear of that. Your ladyship, 
have I your permission to give the word for the broken 
columns to reform 1 I do not wish to keep you in the cold 
longer than is absolutely necessary.' 

' When you please, colonel ; we are all " your most obe- 
dient " to-night.' 

The colonel saluted and wheeled round on his skates with 
admirable precision. 

The Volunteers had all been supplied with lights by the 
servants of the castle ; the word of command was given — they 
shouldered their rifles, formed fours, lighted their torches, and 
advanced at the double. 

The effect was very fine. 

The men skated with great rapidity, and passed three times 
before the party from the castle. As they held the torches 
they could not " present arms," but they gave three cheers for 
Lord and Lady Linstock — three thundering cheers uttered by 
stentorian lungs ; the noise drowned that of the bands, and the 
noble lord and his lady were much gratified. 

Felicia, with two young ladies of her acquaintance, without 
saying a single word to any one, ran across the moat wheu the 
men came to the " halt," intending to stand on the bank or 
upon the drawbridge. 

Felicia was the leader in this act of secession, and she did 
not know that close to the edire of the moat the ice had been 
broken in order that the deer might be enabled to drink. 

Hoarse cries of warning saluted her ears from the servitors 
were watching the scene from various ' coigns of vantage,' but 
she mistook their import. She imagined that the volunteers 
were again advancing on their way to the Esk, and she 
expedited her speed to get out of the way. 

The consequence was that she stepped into an open space, 
and immediately sank in fifteen feet of water. 

Cries of horror rent the air, for the accident was witnessed 
by all within fifty yards of the spot, but all seemed paralysed 
with astonishment. 



MARHIED. 89 

A young man in No. 4 company, under the Honourable 
Valentine's command, darted forward, leaving the ranks with- 
out a word to any of his officers. The flambeau in his band 
flared and sputtered as it was carried quickly through the air. 

With great cleverness lie arrested his precipitate progress 
at the very edge of the treacherous hole. 

The young ladies who bad accompanied Felicia were 
standing in the middle of the moat, rending the air with their 
screams. 

Tbe volunteer sank upon his knees, and as Felicia rose to 
the surface of tbe water, gasping and panting as if for dear 
life, he gently caught her by the shoulder, dragged her with 
some difficulty from her dangerous position, and laid her on 

tbe ice. 

This act of gallantry was witnessed by more than a hundred 
of the company. 

A tremendous burst of cheering rang pleasantly in the 
volunteer's ears, as aided by some gentlemen, he bore Felicia 
to tbe bank, and saw her carefully attended to. 

Then, with a military salute to the party, amongst whom 
he alone knew Lord and Lady Linstock by sight, and to whom 
he was a perfect stranger, he wheeled round, saluted the 
Hon. Valentine Bridgemau, and took his place as a rear rank 
man in his company. 

'Valentine,' exclaimed Lady Linstock, ' thank that young 
man, will you 1 He is very brave, and has saved poor dear 
Misa Saville'a life. Ask him to the ball this evening. Felicia 
will be glad of having an opportunity of expressing her 
gratitude in person.' 

' I intended to do so,' replied the Hon. Mr. Lridgcman ' I 
fully intended doing so.' 

' Well done. Fenwiek. Ton my word, it was splendid. 
Lady Linstock has asked me to thank you for your bravery. 
There is to be a hop at the castle to-night. A carpet dance. 
Everything very quiet and private. I bave asked a few men 
of 'ours.' Will you kindly join US? I can set you up in the 
way of pumps, or anything else you may want.' 
' Is the uniform permissible ? ' 

' Of course. Oh, yes. thai will do.' replied Bridgeman, who 
raised his voice, and said : 'Now. von fellows, put those pipe-. 
out. We must be moving in the direction of Wiston Leach. 
Tcn-tion ! l>y your right — Mar-rch ! ' 



90 HELD IN THRALL. 

The men were ready in an instant, and had less difficulty in 
starting than may be imagined. 

The monotonous one — two, one — two of the sergeants, who 
generally mark time for the men in the beginning of a march, 
was not heard. The band was already in motion, and pre- 
ceded the column. The men slung their arms, and conse- 
quently were able to carry their torches without inconvenience. 

The smoke arisins; from the torches ascended and formed a 
dense cloud over the long line ; but as the men swept past, to 
the number of three hundred, skating wonderfully well, and 
keeping abreast and in line with admirable precision, it was an 
imposing spectacle, and one which intensely gratified all who 
beheld it. 

The party from the castle lingered until the last man was 
becoming dim, shadowy, and phantom-like in the darkness, 
and then retired to the drawing-room. 

Felicia was not at all hurt. Her immersion Avas calculated 
to give her a severe cold, and she was advised to go to bed. 
This, however, she strenuously refused to do. 

Changing her wet clothes, she descended to the drawing- 
room, and received the congratulations of her friends. 

Her principal reason for coming down again, instead of 
retiring to rest, was an uncontrollable desire to see the hand- 
some volunteer who had saved her life, if not at the risk of 
his own, at all events, at some danger to himself. 

She thought that he Avas the handsomest man she had ever 
seen ; and this hastily-formed opinion AA T as confirmed Avhen he 
entered the ball-room in the society of the Honourable Mr. 
Bridgeman, avIio took him to meet Felicia, saying — 

f Permit me, Miss Saville, to introduce full Private Maurice 
FenAvick to you.' 

' I feel deeply grateful to Mr. FenAvick for his great 
gallantry. I can never repay the obligation under Avhich he 
has placed me,' replied Felicia, in a deep, thrilling tone. 

Her face was flushed, and she betrayed all the agitation of 
a school- girl. 

'Pray don't mention it,' said Maurice FenAvick; 'I am 
only too happy to think that a fortunate chance enabled me to 
be of service to you.' 

The orchestra noAV commenced a charming waltz. 

' May I have the honour ? ' said FenAvick, addressing Felicia, 
who made a pretence of looking at her card. 



MAKRIED. 91 

She had purposely left the first dance open. 

She bowed an assent, and the next minute Maurice Fenwick 
was whirling her lightly round the room. 

Mrs. Sandford Saville was Btanding by the side of Lady 
Linstock as Felicia and her partner swept past. 

' Dear me ! ' she exclaimed, ' who is that young man with 
whom Felicia is dancing ? ' 

'I really don't know ; but here is Valentine — he will tell 
us/' 

' Some friend of his, 1 presume,' returned Lady Linstock. 

' Who is my daughter's partner, Mr. Bridgemanl Can you 
kindly tell me .' ' said Mrs. Saville. 

' Fenwick — Maurice Fenwick,' replied the Hon. Mr. Bridge- 
man. 

' Ah, yes : but what is he ? ' 

' Oh ! I beg your pardon. As well as I can remember, he 
is — yes, he is the son of the village apothecary.' 

Mrs. Saville looked in an infuriated manner at everybody, 
and sank into a chair. The idea of her daughter dancing 
with the son of a village apothecary, when there were three 
guardsmen, two baronets, and a host of well-bred, well- 
educated men in the room. 

Oh, it was too monstrous, too preposterous, for any mother's 
feelings ! 

For some time after that eventful night Felicia did not meet 
Maurice Fenwick, but the impression he had made 14)011 her 
was never effaced. 

Valentine paid her great attention, but she checked him at 
once, and told him frankly she could not love him. 

In time .Maurice came to London and contrived to meet 
Felicia. As it was impossible to gain the consent of In 1 
worldly-minded mother to their union, the lovers agreed to 
elope, and did one morning run away and get married. 

For some time they lived in poverty, which was lightened 
by their mutual affection. At length they were forgiven, for 
both Mr. and Mrs. Saville really loved their daughter, and no 
one could say anything againsl Maurice Fenwick, who, under 
his father-in-law's patronage, rose in the world, and was in 
time promoted to a position of trust and emolument. 

After this, the lawyer who was Darby's great ally, narrated 
an experience of his own which showed the result of Bending 
a telegram. He culled it : — 



92 HELD IN THRALL. 



AT CROSS PURPOSES. 

George Manvers, a London detective, went in the autumn 

of 185 — , to the little town of E , on the South coast, 

to arrest an absconding banker, but on his arrival he was 
unable to identify the gentleman, and he was obliged to tele- 
graph to a Mrs. Bardell, with whom he was on intimate terms, 
and in whose house the banker had lived. 

Worthy Mrs. Bardell no sooner received the telegram than 
she went round the corner to show it to her bosom friend 
Mrs. Chintop, who was, like herself, a lodging-house keeper. 

Her calling and condition in life is not mentioned to pre- 
judice the reader against the lady. It is simply stated as a 
matter of fact, which should be understood for the proper 
development of the story. Dr. Johnson was once asked who 
a gentlemen to who he had been talking was, and he replied 
that he had no wish to calumniate any one, but it was his 
private opinion that the man was an attorney. 

We repeat, Mrs. Chintop was a lodging-house keeper. She 
let her parlours, her first floor front and back, and also her 
second floor, vegetating herself in some mysterious attic or sky 
parlour, where the twittering of that unique bird the London 
sparrow was distinctly audible early in the morning, and, to 
speak the truth, at other hours also. 

The kitchen was Mrs. Chintop's favourite place of abode. It 
was in this subterranean region that she held converse with 
Mary Jane, and manipulated the cold meat of the lodgers, 
cutting off a morsel here, and snipping off a little bit there, 
in places where it wouldn't be seen, doing it all more suo, 
in a way that defied imitation. 

An excellent woman was Mrs. Chintop, and, according to 
Mary Jane, the very best of mistresses. Mrs. Bardell and 
Mrs. Chintop loved one another like two sisters when together, 
but behind one another's backs abused each other like wild 
cats. Mrs. Chintop would write to her friend in this 
way, with a lead pencil on a scrap of paper : ' Do, dear, 
come to supper. The first floor's got tripe.' And Mrs. 
Bardell would return the compliment by writing : 'Dear 
friend, you must contrive to run over for an hour about 
nine. The parlours has salmon and cucumber — prime cut 
cut of the middle of the fish, and quite a picture to look at, 



MARRIED. 93 

I do assure you : with cold lamb — shoulder, my dear — and 
pickles to follow; with Stilton, sent up from Staffordshire as 
a present but yesterday.' Thus would the hospitality of the 
one be reciprocated by the other. Happy friendship ! 
Enviable intimacy ! Blissful union ! 

When Mrs. Bardell arrived with a sharp rat-tat at Mrs. 
Chintop's door, Mary Jane opened the door, and said, ' Lor ! 
is it you, inn in I Mi — is will be glad. The drawing-room has 
gone out for the day, and left the keys, and missis says the 
Bherry wine's first-rate.' 

Mrs. Bardell nodded significantly, and passed upstairs into 
the drawing-room. It was then half-past nine. The telegram, 
as is usual in some cases, had not travelled much quicker than 
an ordinary letter. Mrs. Chintop was dressed in a faded 
brocaded silk, and wore a cap which -would have become a 
younger woman. . She was sitting on a chair near an open 
cheffonier, and holding a glass of wine in the air, regarding 
it with the air or a judge ; her attitude resembling that of 
the person in the cheap wine merchant's circular, who shuts 
one eye, and exclaims, '"What ! South African .' ' 

'Isn't it odd to think as you should pop in promiscuous i ' 
said Mrs. Chintop. 'If there's anything going on I always 
Bays to Mary Jane, says I, " Mark my words, Sarah will run 
round as sure as there's omnybusses running about the 
streets ; " and so it's true, my dear. And now, what's the 
best news with you? Nobody ain't been and left you a legacy, 
I don't suppose. But before you talks take a taste of this 
Bherry wine. It ain'l bad, though not my sort. I, liking 
plenty of body and a fuller flavour, not being set upon your 
Montillardos and your Vina di Pastas, and other long names 
which they yive those dry wines, which is but the ghosts of 
wines.' 

'So, your lodgers have gone out?' replied Mrs. Bardell, 
drinking the sherry with gusto. ' Ain't it a blessing when 
they take themselves off, and Lets you go into yum- own again, 

.1 I may say .' 1 always looks upon lodgers as people who 

ain't go! uo sort or manner of right in your house, and feel as 
it' 1 could treat 'em according, hating them like poison all tie- 
while I'm saying, " Yes, mum," and " No, Sir.'" 

'Ah! you and I was made for one another, Sarah,' said 

Mrs. Chintop, 'for them's my sentiments toaT. My drawing- 
rooms is underlet, a-- you know, I wanting thirty-live shillings 



94 HELD IN THRALL. 

and only getting thirty ; but, take my word for it, they have 
to pay for it, and it comes dearer to them in the end, though 
they are that close and mean that they would not leave a 
cheeseparing, much less a drop of beer at the bottom of the 
glass, and drink's fourpenny 'arf-and-'arf, which ain't the sort 
of thing for them as calls themselves gentlefolks, such drinking 
Bass's bitter, and never missing a bottle when its took out of 
the cellar negleckful.' 

' That's bad,' said Mrs. Bardell, sententiously. ' Give 'em 
notice, my dear, you'll let again directly. But listen to me. 
I've got a telegram.' 

<A what?' 

'Why, a message. You know it comes along them wire 
things, and is drove by electricity. Don't you know those boys 
in the street, with white round their caps. Well they brings 
'em to you, and there's sixpence to pay.' 

' And what is it about ? ' inquired Mrs. Chintop, whose lot 
it had never been to receive a telegraphic message. 

' Why, I've got to go down to E to see a gentleman as 

used to have my parlours — a detective he is. He don't say 
what he wants, nor does he send the money to pay the fare ; 
but I shall go, and I've just stepped round to ask you to mind 
my place, and look after my slut of a girl, which the trouble 
she gives me you'd never believe ; and eating the cheese like 
a wolf when my back is turned, and she thinks I aint a looking 
at her. She got a lump — ah ! as big as an egg — stuck in her 
throat the other night, and Avould have choked her had it not 
been for me slapping her on the back, and says I, " Jane, all 
this comes of your gluttony. Now, what is it you've got 
inside of you ? for it's something more than mortal. Did you 
— now answer me true — did you, when a girl in the country, 
ever drink water out of a pond 1 cos it's my firm belief you've 
got a eel." "A what, mum? " she says, turning as pale as a 
sheet, and looking at me with all the eyes in her head. " Why, 
a eel," I says again ; and then she sets to and begins to cry 
awful, and off she goes to a doctor, and he says he don't know 
nothing about eels, but he give her some stuff, though it aint 
done her a bit of good, as I'm a living witness that she eat 
half a quartern loaf for supper last night ; and no girl as 
hadn't got a eel could do that.' 

' Ah ! ' said Mrs. Chiutop, ' I feel for you, my dear. It's 
wonderful what them country gals do eat. I never takes no 



M \URIED. 95 

teetotalers into my service. Water makes the gals so precious 
hungry, they eat you out of 'ouse and 'ome. Them as takes 
their beer regular, and ilon't mind a taste of Old Tom, gets 
nourishment from the drink, and ain't a tenth of the hexpense 
the other artful hussies is. If that girl of yours was mine, I'd 
start her pretty quick. I wouldn't keep no servant what 
drinks water, and as got a eel. 

' I may rely upon you keeping a heye upon 'Liza Jane? ' 

' You may. my dear.' 

Mrs. Bardeli had a great idea of keeping a 'heye' upon 
people. She was always keeping a ' heye ' upon some one or 
other, and felt quite satisfied when Mrs. (Jhintop promised to 
keep a ' heye ' upon Eliza. 

'Do you know what I'm a thinking?' said Mrs. Chintop, 
winking and blinking at the sherry like an owl in the moon- 
light. 

Mrs. Bardeli did not know, but she hazarded a guess. 

'You're a thinking about having a sheep's head for dinner ? ' 

'No, I ain't.' 

' Then you're thinking about rump steak and hyster sauce, 
or biled mutton and capers, with turnips mashed ! ' 

'No. It ain't wittles, my dear, I'm a thinking of,' re- 
sponded Mrs. Chintop with a grave shake of the head. 

• What i- it, then ? ' asked Mrs. Bardeli, desperately. 

She spoke savagely, and glared viciously at her uncommuni 
cative friend. 

' I t's your telegrammatic message.' 

'And what of it ? ' 

'Do you know what he wauts you for? ' 

'No. I wishes I did.' 

' He's youiiL r , aint he ? ' 

• Not quite a chicken, my dear. 9 

'Ami used to be partial to yon.'' asked Mrs. Chintop, 
pursuing her examination with the air of an Old Bailey 
lawyer, or a nisi prii/s barrister in a breach of promise ease. 

•Well, 1 — 1 really can't say,' responded .Mr>. Bardeli, 
mmpering and trying to blush, but tailing ignominiously, as DO 
increase of colour would come to her cheeks. 

In fed the good lady's nose ha I done all the blushing for 

her cheeks for a Long, long time, and even her besi friends 
admitted that she wa- afflicted by a determination of the blood 

to the tip of the nasal organ. 



96 HELD IN THRALL. 

' Sarah ! ' cried Mrs. Chintop, sternly. 

' My dear.' 

'Don't you have no secrets from your buzzim friend. 
Haven't we been like sisters ever since we've been neighbours ? 
You speak up and tell the truth. He was partial to you, and 
it's no good your denying it.' 

' Well, my dear,' said Mrs. Bardell, ' it isn't for me to speak, 
though I may say that I — I thought — that is, I had reason to 
suppose that — that it might come to something some day.' 

' That's it — that's what I wanted to come to. Now, I'm 
not often wrong, Sarah ; but you take my word for it, that 
he's going to make you a hoffer — don't say no. I know it, 
he's going to make you a hoffer.' 

Mrs. Bardell played with the fringe on her shawl, and with 
a deep-drawn sigh, said — 

' Bardell always did say he knew I shouldn't be a widder 
long.' 

' And he was right. The young man knows you are clever, 
and he wants some one to keep him company. He's lonely, 
and you being what I may call the friend of his youth, has a 

special attraction in his heyes, and you'll be Mrs. what's 

his name?' 

' Manvers,' softly murmured the interesting widow. 

' Mrs. Manvers. A pretty name, and one you'll bear as 
graceful as becomes you. Now, shall I tell you what I'd 
wear in church? ' said Mrs. Chintop. 

Mrs. Bardell nodded her head affirmatively. 

' Well, I'd wear a white glace silk with tulle trimmings.' 

' Yes, yes,' cried Mrs. Bardell, delightedly. ' But wouldn't 
a white satin or a white moire do better? It looks more rich. 
There was Mrs. Platterskin, the publican's widder, at the 
Grapes, you know, she wore a white satin when she married 
the grocer.' 

' So she did, my dear, and I ain't going to say nothing 
against morrys,' replied Mrs. Chintop. ' Morrys is capital 
wear, and always looks like having pounds about you. Of 
course there'll be a breakfast. I should get the cake from the 
fountain-head, and go to Gunter's, even if it do cost a trifle 
more.' 

' Yes, we'll have a cake for a queen, and you shall come 
with mo and border the sliampain, and we'll taste lots of 
bottles till we get the best,' replied Mrs. Bardell, who allowed 



UABBIED. 97 

her friend to persuade her that she was really the object of 
Manvers' adoration. 

• You must lie missis, my dear,' said Mrs. Chintop, with the 
air of a mother, talking to a daughter, on the eve of 



mar: 



• Never fear. lis a woman's privilege to govern her 
husband. Bardell always hail to own that he was only a 

■ Ami don't you stand no birthdays.' 

• Nut I.' 

' And no clubs.' 

• No.' 

' Or publie-'ouse parlours ; nor no bagatelle-boards. They're 
the ruin of 'art the 'usbans.' 

• So they are, my dear,' replied Mrs. Bardell. 

•And don't you let him mfke no eyes at no women. It 
ain't right. Choose your company, and be particular over your 
servants. A plain gal as has got a eel is better than one as is 
pr< tty.' 

'You're right there, my dear. I fancy I see anything of 
that sort a taking place. I'd limb her. I'd be the death of 
the pair of them, I would.' 

■<>; course you'll have a carriage to go to church in?' 

'In course.' 

'Don't you think,' continued Mrs. Chintop, 'that bays is 
better than chesnul 

• I likes gre) -.' 

' Very well, 'ave greys. I ain't gol nothing to say against 

ibestnutS I do abominate. You'll live in a hari.-io- 

■ 

cratic pari of the town — somewhere down the Kensington 

Museum way ; that's where the pick and the cream of thi 

hupper 

' I< it .' I'll l»e guid< d by you. my dear.' 
'Then you won't go wrong,' replied Mrs. Chintop. 
The worthy couple replenished their glasses, and drank the 
i were desirous of tasting its Savour. 

Mrs. Chintop looked earnestly, doI to say searchingly, al hei 

friend, and -aid. with a deep drawn sigh — 

■ Sarah !' 

• .Mum. to you.' was the reply. 

•You'll he forgetting all your old friends; you'll never 

think of poor old Chintop. You'll be calling of US \ulgnr 

II 



98 HELD IN THRALL. 

creatures, and be too proud to know any but carriage 
company.' 

' If I do I wish I may drop,' said Mrs. Bardell. ' No ; 
whatever 'appens to me — and we're all in the hands of fate — 
I shall never forge! old frens, more espeshall Mrs. Chintop. 
which shall always be welcome as a 'onnered guest.' 

' Which it's kind of you to say it,' said Mrs. Chintop. 
' Youre arJs in the right place, Sarah, and I wish you luck ! 
Bless you ! May you be 'appy ! You've got a trying time 
before you, my dear, but your spirit will sustain you. Do 
your duty to him, but keep him under, and you'll be all right. 
God bless 3'ou ! Send for a four-wheel cab, and I'll go to the 
station with you.' 

Mrs. Chintop squeezed out a tear, and suppressed a sob, and 
Mrs. Bardel, taking advantage of her friend's abstraction, 
drank three glasses of sherry, oi!e after the other, which caused 
her nose to flame brightly like a burning beacon. 

It was just one o'clock when Mrs. Bardell reached E . 

The town was familiar to her, and she walked from the station 
to the hotel. 

That interesting official, the town crier, was exercising his 
lungs, and informing the public that the principal baker of the 
place had lost his keys, and could not open the oven-door, and 
would pay half-a-crown for their restoration ; which munificent 
offer met with no immediate response. 

She found the hotel, and raising the knocker with a flutter- 
ing heart, gave three timid knocks in slow succession. 

A waiter admitted Mrs. Bardell, and showed her into the 
parlour, as the best room in an inn in country places is called. 
In a short time Manvers made his appearance, looking a little 
wild and excited. 

' This is kind of you,' he said. ' I scarcely expected you 
so soon.' 

' Oh ! Mr. Manvers, I would do anything to oblige you, as 
you know. I had no sooner received your telegram than I 
hurried and flustered myself to answer you.' 

1 And, I presume, you are anxious to know why I sum- 
moned you to E ? ' 

' I — I think I can guess,' replied Mrs. Bardell. 

< Can you, indeed 1 Then I give you credit for more clever- 
ness than ' 



KABRTED. 99 

'I was always clover,' interrupted Mrs. BardelL 'Yon 

must remember that you always gave me credit for being 
clever.' 

'That is perfectly correct.' sai 1 he. 'I did so ; and I hope 
that you will be of some service to me. Do you remember a 
banker lodging in your hou<e ?' 

• You mean Mr. Benson ? ' 

• Yes.' 

'I should think I did ! I hear he's run away, Mr. Manvcrs. 
It is a sad, sad thing.' 

■ Do you think you would be able to recollect the features 
of the man who had your drawing-rooms ! ' 

' I am sure I should,' replied Mrs. Bardell. 'I never liked 
that man. and I took particular care to look at him aud observe 
his features narrowly.' 

' Are you sure you could recognise him ? ' 

'I would stake my life on it,' replied Mrs. Bardell, em- 
phatically. 

' Very well. I will take you to him, for it is necessary that 
you should identify him.' 

' Is that all you telegraphed to me for ? ' cried Mrs. Bardell, 
with a slight cry. 

' All ! Mrs. Bardell. What do you mean ? ' 

• I- it all '. ' 

' Of course it is. Could I have communicated with you on a 
matter of greater importance? ' 

' I — I — don't know,' replied Mis. Bardell, ready to cry with 
vexation. 

She had fallen into the trap laid for her by .Mrs. Chintop, 
and she was disappointed in the extreme t<> find that there was 
no foundation whatever tor the Suspicion i hat Man vers was in 
love with and wanted to make her an offer. 

She could have fallen upon him and made a ferocious attack 
upon his hirsute appendages, beginning with his whiskers and 
ending with his moustaches, but she forbore to indulge in so 
violent an amusement. 

' I wish you, MrB. Bardell,' In' exclaimed, ' to have the 

goodness to accompany me to an hotel in this place, when I 

think I shall be able to show you tin' man. Will you eomply 

with my request .' If you will, I .-hall be eternally indebted to 
you.' 

Mis. Bardell was unable to reply for a short time; the 

JI 2 



100 HELD IX THRALL. 

reaction was too great for her. She had been upon the 
pinnacle of hope, and she was cast down into the abyss of 
despair. At length there crept into her mind a little furtive 
hope that he might love her, and have it in his mind to propose 
after a time. So she smiled, and tried to be affable. 

She had heard of ladies who were fascinating, and who had 
exercised their arts in a most wonderful manner upon those of 
the opposite sex. If so, why should she not be fascinating, as 
well as others? 

There were syrens who charmed Ulysses. Had the 
daughters of Eve degenerated ? It was to be hoped not. 
Whatever happened she must contrive somehow to enchain the 
sympathies of Man vers, or else she could never — never face 
Mrs. Chintop again. She must either marry him or give up 
her house, sell her furniture, and migrate to a part of the town 
where she was not known. 

This was anything but an agreeable conclusion to arrive at. 
If there is one thing which an elderly widow abhors more than 
another it is ridicule. Hoping for the best, she stifled her 
emotion, and replied — 

' Is it possible, sir ? If he is in this town I do hope that 
he'll be punished, for a more cruel and rascally thing never yet 
happened in this wicked world. I'll do all I can to help you 
to identify him, and think it a pleasure.' 

' Thank you,' said he, quietly. ' I knew I could rely upon 
you. We will now, if you please, go to the hotel.' 

' Certainly, sir.' 

The ' Crown ' was about five minutes' walk from Manvers' 
inn, and he offered Mrs. Bardell his arm when they entered 
the street. This condescension quite charmed the worthy 
woman, and all she wished was that Mrs. Chintop could be at 

E ■ to witness the dignity to which she had arrived ; to 

take a man's arm in the street is so like being his wife that 
she began once more to believe in the realization of her 
dream. 

How very quickly that five minutes passed ! She could 
have wished the walk to last for a lifetime ; but earthly bliss 
is transitory, and lodging-house-keeping widows are no more 
than mortal. 

Mr. Benson was in the coffee-room, where he found a repast 
prepared for him by Mr. Drowsy, the host, who did his best 
to do honour to his guest. 



&IA.KRIED. 11 

Manvers did not take Mrs. Bardell into the room as if sin- 
were a detective. He said to her, * Peep in at the door, and 
if yon think yon can recognise the man tell me so.' 

Had Mrs. Bardell been imbued with half his discriminating 

penetration she would not have betrayed herself into the 
egregious blunder which put the banker upon his guard. 

Xo sooner had she looked in at the door and seen him than 
she pxclaimed, in a loud voice, which was distinctly heard by 
him to whose ear the remark should not have penetrated. 

•That's him, Mr. .Manvers! That's the man! I know 
Iii in again in a minute. I'll swear to him in any court o, 
justice. That's him, Mr. Manvers ! You're quite right, sir 
He's the man that took my lodgings." 

Mi. Benson looked in the direction from whence this voice 
proceeded, and though Manvers pulled Mrs. Bardell back as 
quickly as he could, he caught sight of her. 

Manvers no sooner had an opportunity of speaking to 
Mrs. Bardell than lie exclaimed — 

' How imprudent you are ! ' 

' Me, sir ? ' she said, in a tone of surprise. 

' Yes. Your impetuosity ruins all. If you had only held 
your tongue the man would not have been put upon his guard. 
I am afraid that we shall have some trouble with him now.' 

' Can't you give him in charge, now .' ' asked Mrs. Bardell. 

'I must go with you to the police-station, and very likely 
we shall be required" to make a deposition before a magistrate. 
During the hour or two this will occupy our bird will, in all 
likelihood, Blip through our fingers.' 

1 But we shall find him again, sir?' 

'We will exert ourselves to do so. Now, come with me. 
We will take ;i drive and Bee what LS to be done.' 

They went to the police-station, and Manvers told his tale 

to the sergeant on duty. It was an extraordinary charge, and 
one the sergeant had some difficulty in believing; but, at last, 
he was so impressed with Manvers' earnest manner and ap- 
parent truthfulness that he was induced to think there was 

some ground for the charge which he made againsl the 
banker. 

Some people find it hod to believe anything alleged againsl 
u rich man. There seema to he an innate feeling of toadyism 
in most Englishmen and women's breasts, and the Bergeanl was 
no exception to the general rule. 



102 HELD IN THRALL. 

The good worthy man would have believed anything bad of 
Brown, Jones, or Robinson, and have taken Smith in charge 
upon the flimsiest pretence and insufficient evidence ; but when 
he heard that a banker was accused of committing a crime he 
hesitated in crediting it. 

Man vers, however, though not a man well known in de- 
tective or police circles, held a good position in his profession, 
and a charge made by him could not be disregarded. 

The sergeant would not grant a warrant upon his own 
responsibility. He insisted upon having a deposition made 
upon oath before a magistrate. 

Mr. Manvers was much disgusted at the man's obstinacy, 
and endeavoured to remonstrate with him, but without avail. 

' I very much regret, sir, that I cannot do as you wish,' 
said the sergeant. ' Nothing would give me more pleasure 
than to oblige you, but this is a charge of a serious nature. It 
is made against a gentleman of reputation, and I cannot act 
upon my own responsibility.' 

' But I will hold you harmless.' 

' Thank you, sir, but I very much regret that I must refuse 
to act summarily.' 

' What course am I to pursue, then ? ' 

'I will accompany you to the justices' room at Bockfort. 
where you will find either Mr. Hale or Mr. Baylis, and when 
they have heard what you and the lady with you have had 
to say, they may grant you a warrant or not, as they see fit.' 

' This is excessively tiresome.' 

' Sorry for it, sir.' 

' Possibly,' said Manvers, testily ; ' but your sorrow will not 
mend matters. Send one of your men for a fly, please, and 
tell him to get the likeliest horse he can see, as I want to get 
over the ground quickly.' 

' Very well, sir.' 

The sergeant disappeared, and turning to Mrs. Bardell, 
Manvers exclaimed — 

' What geese these country policemen are ! If we had only 
been in London this delay would not have occurred.' 

' No, Mr. Manvers, that it wouldn't. The police in London 
will take a charge against any one, be he rich or be he poor. 
To my mind, they are a little too fast in taking charges, and 
if I had the power I'd get a hact of Parliament to stop 'em.' 

The fly was not long in making its appearance. Manvers 



KABRIED. 103 

banded in Bin. Bardell, and the sergeant rode on the box with 
the driver. 

Rockfort was two miles distant. The road was indifferent, 
and, in Bpite of Manvers' admonition, the liorse was the veriest 
screw of a Rosinantr that ever ran between shafts. It seemed 
all legs and wings, and had evidently been a stranger to oats 
from its infancy. 

E was in the parish of Rockfort — and consequently 

all the judicial business was transacted there. The E 

people were actually buried at Rockfort, it having uo grave- 
yard or cemetery of it.- own. 

Fortunately they found a magistrate at Rockfort — had they 
been half-au-hour later his worship would have taken his 
departure. He had enjoyed the felicity of committing two 
men to prison for a month with hard labour, for Stealing a 
couple of turnips in a field through which they were passing ; 
and he had given a gipsy a fortnight for being a tramp and 
sleeping under a hedge, because he hadn't halfpence enough 
to pay for a threepenny bed in the village. 

Such was the wisdom of this rustic Solon. 

When the detective and Mrs. Bardell were ushered into the 
justice-room, Mr. Baylis took them for prisoners. He was 
rather in a hurry, because his gamekeeper was waiting for hi- 
return home to draw a badger, his worship being extremely 
partial to a good badger bait. 

•Well. Jarvis,' be exclaimed to the sergeant, 'what'e tin 
charge ? Make haste, my good fellow. A magistrate's time 
must not be trilled with. 1 am always at the service of the 
State, hut not beiii'_ r a stipendiary 1 cannot be kept here- 
all day.' 

• It "s a charge of murder, sir.' replied the sergeant. 

'Eh ! what '.' cried Mr. Baylis, looking intensely surprised 

' Murder, sir ! ' 

' God bless me I arc they both concerned in it ? Make out 

the commitment. No — tay ; let me hear the evidence first, 

Ii t me bear the <\ idence first, eh, Jan is— better hear the evi- 

ce; or would you like a remand) Better remand them 

for a week, I think, and take hail in two suieti<\- of five 

hundred each. What do you say to that .' Full bench this 
day week, you leno'fl .' 

• Beg your pardon, sii,' said the sei''_ r <:iiit, •you've mnd. 

mistake.' 



104 HELD IN THRALL 

' Made a mistake ! ' cried Mr. Baylis, getting red in the face. 
' What the dev — that is, what do you mean, sir ? I never 
made a mistake since I've been in the commission of the 
peace.' 

' If you will allow me, sir, I think I can explain the matter 
to your satisfaction,' exclaimed Manvers, smiling, although 
he was burning with vexation. 

' Hold your tongue, prisoner,' said Mr. Baylis. 

< But ' 

' Jarvis ! ' 

< Sir.' 

' Has the prisoner been cautioned 1 ' 

4 You don't understand, sir.' 

' What ! don't talk to me in that way ! ' shouted Mr. 
Baylis ; ' a policeman to tell a magistrate he doesn't under- 
stand. Monstrous ! I never heard of such a thing. I ask 
you if the prisoner has been cautioned in the usual way, and 
told that " everything he says will be used in evidence against 
him." Must proceed in the usual way, you know. Things 
must be done regularly.' 

'He isn't a prisoner at all, sir.' 

' Not a prisoner ! then what did you bring him here for ? ' 

' He's come to make a charge, sir.' 

' Oh ! I perceive. It's the woman who is the culprit. 
Separate them, and place her in the dock.' 

' Woman, indeed ! ' said Mrs. Bardell, indignantly ; ' let 
him try and place me in the dock — let him so much as lay 
his little finger upon me, and if there's law to be had in 
England for money, I'll make him pay for it ! ' 

' What — what is the meaning of this 1 ' asked Mr. Baylis, 
driven to his wits' end. ' I must confess that I am altogether 
at a loss.' 

' If you would allow me, sir, I could make everything 
clear,' exclaimed Manvers. 

The magistrate nodded his head, giving the required per- 
mission. 

' I apply for a warrant against Mr. Benson, for the murder 
of a female under the following circumstances.' 

He then went into minute details, to which the magistrate 
listened with manifest impatience. He was hungry and 
thirsty, and above all things wished to enjoy the treat of 
seeing the badger drawn. All at once a quick way of getting 



HARRIED. 



105 



out of the difficulty of being obliged to listen to Manvers and 
Mrs. Bardell occurred to him, ami he exclaimed — 

'Very well, Mr. Manvers, you need not say anything more. 
You have told me who you are, and being a person of re- 
spectability, 1 have no hesitation in granting you the warrant 
you ask for. You must pardon the little confusion which 
took place when you first made your appearance; but the 
sergeant, although a very worthy man and an excellent 
officer, is nol quite 30 skilful in stating a case as he ought 
to be.' 

'Don't mention that.' replied Manners, 'I have your per- 
mission to take a warrant I ' 

' You have. Jarvia ! ' 
i es. Bir. 

• Make it out at once, and go yourself and see it executed.' 

• What about bail, sir, if he should offer to put it in ': ' 
a-ked the sergeant. 

'Oh! two sureties in — say eight hundred each, and himself 
in three thousand, eh .' That, I think, will meet the justice 
of the case.' 

• Any notice, sir ? ' 

• No, no notice ; I wouldn't keep him in gaol longer than 
can be helped.' 

This ended the sitting, and the magistrate retired, shortlv 
afterwards issuing from the private door, and -'Ming into his 
carriage to go home and draw the badger. 

Such is the free-and-easy way in which justice i- adminis- 
tered in Borne of the rural districts of England. 

No sooner had Manvers obtained the warrant than he 
jumped into the fly, and told the driver to drive as quickly 
a- possible, lie went as fasl ae his horse would go, but the 
pace even then bore some resemblance to the rate of progi 
.-ion customary ai 'j the Bnail and tortoise tribe. 

A good half hour elapsed before they drew up at the door 
of the • Crown.' 

Manvers sprang out, and meeting the landlord in the 
passage, a-ked for Mr. Benson. The landlord thought a 
moment, and replied — 

'lie has Keen gone out ahoiit an hour; he paid his bill, 

and begged me to thank you for your attention. I was to 
be particular about remembering the word "attention."' 

• Where has he '_ r "iie | ' 



106 HELD IN THRALL. 

'That I don't know.' 

' Did he walk ? ' 

' He did, sir.' 

Turning to Mrs. Bardell, Manvers, with a lugubrious air, 
exclaimed — 

' Too late— too late ! ' 

' Why so V she asked. 

' He has gone.' 
' 'Follow him, then.' 

'How can that be done when we don't know where he has 
gone 1 ' 

' If I might presume to offer an opinion, sir,' said the ser- 
geant, 'I should say that he has gone to the railway station. 
It is now half-past five — the express has been gone half an 
hour. If we go to the railway we can work the telegraph, 
and do some good with it.' 

' A capital idea ! ' cried Manvers, cheerfully. ' To the 
station at once, then. Mrs. Bardell ' 

'Sir, to you.' 

' We can dispense with your services for the present. You 
must be tired. Will you kindly stay until my return 1 Have 
the best dinner the place affords, and consider yourself my 
suest.' 

' Thank you, sir. I shall have much pleasure in taking 
some dinner. Shall you be long ? ' 

' That depends upon circumstances.' 

Shaking hands with Mrs. Bardell, Manvers proceeded with 
the sergeant to the railway station. Jarvis was well acquainted 
with the telegraph clerk, and they went into his private 
room. 

' Good day, Mr. Jarvis. What can I do for you, sir V said 
the clerk. 

' We have a warrant for the arrest of a gentleman whom we 
suspect has gone to London by the five o'clock express.' 

' Very well. You want him stopped, I suppose, aud sent 
back.' 

' We do.' 

The clerk went to the telegraphic apparatus, and began to 
work it. The sharp click of the machinery was heard. He 
stopped aud looked at the dial. His message was being 
answered. 

Rapidly the needle went from side to side. Now here, now 



e 



WAKRTKP. 107 

there, but swiftly as it moved Lis experienced eye followed 
it. 

'All right ! ' he exclaimed; 'the express has not reached 

T yet, although it is expected in ten minute;. Now, 

gentlemen, is your time. Show me your warrant, and give 
me a description of the person you want apprehended. I will 

transmit it to the officials at T . and your man will he 

sfopped to a certainty, and brought back by the train which 
arrives here at 8'15. 

In as few word- as possible Manvers described Mr. Benson, 
and then the clerk went again to his instrument, and worked 
away with a will. The silent voice of the electric wire spoke 

to the official at T . and lie answered to the effect that he 

understood and would act promptly. 

The next quarter of an hour was passed by Manvers in a 
>>i of feverish anxiety. 

Very quickly revolved the electric needle. Manvers watched 
it- revolution patiently, but did not interrupt the operator by 
useless questions or needless remarks. Some time elapsed ; 
then the telegraph clerk looked up with a smile of satisfaction, 
and exclaimed, — 

'The person for whose arrest you have a warrant has just 
been taken out of a lirst-class railway carriage, and is in the 
charge of the police! He declares his innocence, and is very 
violent and indignant, lie will he brought on here, by the 
next down train. 1 

'Thank you!' said Manvers, with a Bigh of relief. 'lam 
excessively ohliged for the promptitude with which you have 
acted.' 

' Not at all, sir,* replied the clerk. 'I have simply done my 
duty. Is there any other way in which 1 can he of service to 
you >.' 

•.Not at present,' Manvers answered, leaving the offi 
accompanied by Jarvis. 

When they reached the outside of the station, they walked 

op and down under a narrow canopy, without speaking, until 

Jarvis exclaimed, '1 iur pardon, sir ; but what is to be 

done now I ' 

The detective Btarted, and, stopping in his walk, replied, ' I 

have nothing more to do at present. The pilS t Will arrive 

in a lew hour-. It will lie your lui-iii. — to uie.t him at 
the station and see him safely lodged in gaol at Rockfort 1 



108 HELD IK THRALL. 

shall attend and give evidence before the bench of magistrates 
when required. Be very careful with your prisoner, and, 
above all things, don't let him escape.' 

' Trust me for that,' replied the policeman, with a confident 
air. 

He was an officer of some standing in the force, and the idea 
of any prisoner placed in his charge escaping seemed so utterly 
and completely ridiculous that he could not repress a smile. 

Manvers left Jarvis waiting at the station for the arrival of 
the train, and went back to the inn to report progress to Mrs. 
Bardell. That worthy woman was getting fidgety. Manvers 
had been out so long that she was afraid something had hap- 
pened to him. She became quite nervous, and his arrival was 
a positive relief to her. In spite of her anxiety she had con- 
trived to make a substantial repast upon the viands the landlord 
had placed before her — a partridge, and the best part of a 
grouse, had the honour of being devoured by her, and were 
washed down by a few glasses of very fine Roederer's champagne. 

' Oh, Mr. Manvers ! ' she exclaimed, as he entered, throwing 
his hat into a corner and sitting down upon a sofa, ' I am so 
glad you have made your appearance ; I didn't know what had 
become of you. I would have waited dinner for you, but you 
told me to begin, and I was that hungry that I could have 
eaten a crust of dry bread, though I've been feasting like any 
princess in a palace. Sit down, and see if you can't swallow a 
mouthful.' 

' No, thank you,' he replied ; ' I will have some wine, but I 
cannot eat.' 

'As you please, sir ; perhaps you will eat something later. 
The grouse is good, and the partridges I can recommend, though 
I should say that off side one, judging from its size, is a French- 
man. Perhaps you'll pick a bit later.' 

'Very likely,' he answered, abstractedly pouring out some 
champagne in a tumbler, and drinking it at a draught. 

' And may I make so bold as to ask how you got on with 
that desprit criminal we came to track and hunt down? ' 

' He is in the hands of the police, I am happy to say, and 
will be in the parish gaol in a couple of hours.' 

' Bless me ! that's doing of it quick ; but I always did say 

you were so clever, Mr. George 1 beg pardon for making 

use of your Christian name, but knowin' of you so long, and all 
that ' 



MAKUIED. 109 

'Don't apologue, Mrs. Bardell,' he said, growing good- 
natured under the influence of the wine lie -was drinking 
copiously, " yoa may call me what you like." 

'It was only the other day I was talking to my dear friend 
Mrs Chintop,' continued Mrs. Bardell ; 'you don't know .Mrs. 
Chintop. Bir, though like enough you have met her at my 
bouse. She is a very -.rood soul, only I must be candid, and 
fey she drink-. It'- her only weakness, and she owns to it. 
More's the pity ; but we mustn't talk about one's friends and 
rhbours behind their hacks, though there isn't a man, woman, 
or child in the street but will tell you her son's wife squints 
awful, and her married daughter's got a nose which turns up 
as if it was a gcing to heaven before its time.' 

Manvers poured out some more wine, and watched it until 
all the foam uied away, and the little sparkling globules, like 
restless spirit-, forced themselves everlastingly up from the 
bottom of tin glass, Losing their beauty, and perishing when 
they reached the outer air. Then he took up little crumbs of 
bread, and dropped them into the wine, and saw the white 
foam once more gather around them ; all this he seemed to 
enjoy with the satisfaction of a child. It was very clear that 
he did not hear much that Mrs. Bardell was Baying, and that 
be paid but little attention to what he did hear. 

1!" w-a the prey i fa nappy abstraction. 

•And this i- what 1 Baid to Mrs. Chintop.' resumed Mrs. 

Bardell, who liked to hear herself talk, ami was pleased when 
.-he had the field all to herself; ''"my dear." Bays 1. "if there 
is one clever gentleman in or out of London, it's .Mr. Manvers. 
I could devote my whole life to him ! 1 Bhould not mind 
rvant, for I do badmire talent, whenever it is my 
fortunate lot to meet with it." "Servant, indeed!" says she, 
a-perking np, " I should think, ma'am, that no one in your 
ition would so bemean herself. Why. what is this Mi'. 
Manvers you're always a talking about'" She being my 
friend, you see, Bir, spoke warm. "lie'- a good man," I 
replies; "and what'- more, he's a gentleman] " [hat's 
nothing,' 1 she says; "gentlemen are ae plentiful as black" 
berries; he's a working his way ap, I Buppose; why. then, 

shouldn't he make you hi- wife' Servant, indeed! it' I was 

anything I'd be hi- wile • and a nice help you'd he, with your 

tact and experience, and a house lull of furniture, a- well a- a 
bit of money put by in the bank, and a-gTOWing at foiir-aiid-a- 

half p ir cent., withdrawable at a fortnight's none.-." 



110 HELD IN r THRALL. 

Manverg made no reply ; he had not heard a word of fhe 
lengthy harangue which his companion addressed to him. She 
grew rather red in the face, and exclaimed — 

' And now you've heard all, sir, what do you think — was 
she right or wrong 1 ' 

He looked up, and said confusedly, ' I really beg your 
pardon, but my thoughts were wandering ; will you repeat 
your question ? ' 

' What I said was this, sir — was Mrs. Chintop, in the advice 
she gave me, right or wrong ? ' 

He hazarded a guess, and replied, ' Oh ! quite right. Most 
decidedly quite right.' 

Mrs. Bardell smiled, and rubbed her hands together de- 
lightedly under the cloth. She had thrown out her bait, and 
fancied that the big fish it was her ambition to catch had 
nibbled at it. 

' Well done, Sarah,' she said to herself, ' you ain't such a fool 
as you looks, my dear. He's on. It's my private belief that 
it Avas the bit of money in the bank that done it. Men like a 
saving woman who's got a few pounds to bless herself with. 
They prefer that sort to those who are always buying bonnets 
and crinolines, and such like, and never having a feather to fly 
with. Wasn't he artful, too, pretending that he didn't hear 
me, when he was a listenin' all the time with every ear he's 
got!' 

She thought that she had gone far enough for that night, and 
that it would be best for her, like a prudent general, to rest 
on her laurels, so she adroitly changed the subject, saying — 

' This is a very nice-tasted wine, Mr. George, but I suppose 
it is dear ? ' 

' Yes, most likely.' 

' I went to my wine merchant's the other day, at the corner 
of the street, and looked at all he'd got in the shop, pricing 
this and pricing that, but buying nothing — all being dear, 
except the French wines, and them I can't a-bear.' 

He was not at all sorry when Mrs. Bardell's gossiping was 
brought to a close by the entrance of Serjeant Jarvis, who said, 
in a low tone — 

' He's safe in gaol, sir. I thought you would be more easy 
if you knew, so I came to tell you, though hoping I don't 
intrude.' 

' Not at all, my good fellow ; sit down and take a glass of 



MARRIED. Ill 

•wine. You have managed everything very skilfully, and the 
conduct of the affair does you great credit. Our bird is caged, 
Mrs. Bardell.' 

' Indeed ! We must take care and clip his wings, so that he 
doesn't get away again. I suppose, now that you have captured 
him, yen will dispense with my service, and let me go back to 
town to-morrow morning .' ' 

' ' Oh ! dear no. I am sorry to undeceive you on that point ; 
it will be necessary for you to remain here, and give evidence, 
until the accused is committed for trial. You can, of course, 
run backwards and forwards, but I should like you, as much as 
possible, to be on the spot. 

' Very well, sir ; anything to oblige you, but it will be a 
serious loss to me,' answered Mrs. Bardell. 

' I hope not. You must solace yourself with the reflection 
that you are furthering the ends of justice.' 

'lie likes to have me about him, or he wouldn't keep me 
here,' thought Mrs. Bardell. 

In fact she was rather pleased with the idea of staying at a 
comfortable hotel ;it t lie seaside for a week, with frequent 
opportunities of ingratiating herself with Mauvers, and showing 
bim how amiable she was. 

Jarvia informed them that their presence would be required 
at the court early on the following morning, and left them. 
receivin'. r their assurance that they would he there at the time 
appointed. 

He thin walked back to Rockfort, and looked in at the dis- 
tinguished prisoner it was bis lot to guard. 

The banker bad occupied the time h^ bad been in prison by 
endeavouring to devise some way of escaping from the dilemma 
in which he found himself. The war ran I upon which he had 
been arrested had been shown to him, and he knew that he 
was incarcerated \'<>f a serious offence. 

He slept little iii the pria ;unl when morning dawned was 

walking up and down his narrow cell, impatiently awaiting the 
arrival ol hi- examination. 

Without, much difficulty the absconding banker was com- 

in i 1 1 - ■■ I lor trial, an • V< nt which resulted in a Bentence of ten 

_\ i ar-' penal servitude. 

Mr-. Bardell received n .-mall pecuniary reward for her 

services ; but in spite of her fascinations sbe did not marry 

irge Man vers, the city detective, which disappointment 



112 HELD IN THRALL. 

exposed her to the cruel ridicule of Mrs. Chintop for ever 
afterwards. 

But these pleasaut evenings were few and far between; 
they were like oases in the desert. Trouble was looming in the 
distance, and the new Lord Cariston's happiness was destined 
to be short-lived. 



113 



CHAPTER XL 

DADDY CHIVERTON IN DANGER. 

Hamlet Morris arrived in London. 

His business, it may be plainly stated, was to effect the 
capture of Daddy Chiverton; threaten him with a prosecution 
for the attempt to murder; and wring the full particulars 
of this plot from him. 

That Daddy Chiverton was in the secret of the plot which 
had raised Darby to the peerage there could be no doubt. 

It will, perhaps, have been conjectured that Ilamley Morris 
was a detective, employed by Lady Cariston to solve the 
mystery of Darby's sudden appearance as the heir to the 
Hartshill estates. 

The conjecture will have been well-founded, for such was 
the case ; and the metropolitan police force boasted no more 
intelligent officer than Morris. 

.Many apparently inexplicable affairs had been solved through 
his agency ; and he did not despair of throwiug light upon 
the singular one which now encased his attention. 

His ill -t cure was to arrest Daddy Chiverton. 

To find a man in London may seem a difficult undertaking • 
but it was less difficult to Ilamley Morris than it would have 
been to one less versed in a peculiar sort of knowledge of 
human oat are. 

He considered where such a man as Daddy Chiverton 
would be most likely to go to on his arrival in London. 

That he had gone to the capital the detective discovered by 
making inquiries at the railway stations. 

For some days Hamley Morris frequented places of amuse- 
ment at the east end. lie was acquainted with the person 
and features of the man he was in Bearch of, and fancied 
that he would be more inclined to plunge into dissipation at 
the east than at the west end of the town. 

One night, "ii visiting a theatre in the centre of a densely- 
populated neighbourhood, he saw Daddy Chiverton in the 
pit with two friend-, whom he recognised as notorious evil- 

I 



114 HELD IN THRALL. 

doers ; they were chatting together, and seemed pleased with 
the entertainment, which an enterprising manager had provided 
for them. While Hamley Morris was delibei'ating as to 
whether he should arrest Chiverton in the theatre, the three 
men rose and passed out. 

He followed them. 

They lingered at the entrance for a moment, and he gathered 
from their conversation that something had alarmed them, and 
that they deemed it prudent to go. 

To attack the three men would he to encounter desperate 
odds ; and Hamley Morris proposed following them to their 
dwelling, because when they were safely housed, he could 
take what measures he pleased to effect the capture of the 
old man. 

It was Morris's opinion that Daddy Chiverton did not 
know into what dangerous company he had fallen ; and that 
the object of the thieves was to rid him of his money, as 
soon as they had sufficiently insinuated themselves into his 
confidence. 

They threaded Whitechapel ; passed through "Wappiug ; 
and after paying more than one casual visit to a public-house, 
came to a small, low-looking tavern. 

This was peculiarly situated. 

At the end of the street flowed the river, and the house was 
built so as to place its back upon a little creek which ran out 
of the river. 

There were houses on each side of the creek, the back 
windows of all of them opening into the narrow channel, 
which was not more than thirty feet across. 

Some distance higher up, the waste of a large factory was 
discharged into the creek, which probably accounted for its 
preservation. 

At low tide there was not much water in the creek, but 
when the tide w r as up, the river came almost to a level with 
the windows of the tap-room. 

It was to this house that Daddy Chiverton and his friends 
went. 

Hamley Morris entered the bar and called for some spirits 
and water, wdiich was supplied to him. 

The men went upstairs, and he heard their voices in a room 
above the bar into which he did not dare to pursue them at 
present, for fear of exciting their suspicions and encountering 
a formidable resistance. 



DADDY < mvr.KTOX IX DANGER. 11.3 

A few ruffians, who were choice specimens of their cli 
were standing round the bar drinking, swearing at everything 
in general, and the police in particular. 

It would have gone hard with Ilamley Morris if they had 
entertained any Suspicion of his real vocation. 

He was perfectly well aware of this. 

After drinking his grog, he left the louse with the inten- 
tion of looking for nee. 

With Daddy Chiverton's two friends he could do nothing, 
although he knew them to be convicted thieves ; and this i- 
the great difficulty the police have to contend with. They 
must not lay their hands on bad characters, although they 
know them to be such, unless they can catch them in the 
commission of some illegal act. 

It was a fine moonlight night. The streets were dry, and 
by the aid of the moonlight, together with that cast by his 
lantern, Morris saw a constable who had just come on duty ; 
the time being about a quarter to eleven. 

Beckoning to the constable, Hamlcy Morris waited for him 
to approach. 

' You are on duty for the night ? ' 

' Yes,' was the reply. 

'1 am in the detective department, Scotland Yard, and 1 
am also a Serjeant of the A reserve,' continued Morris. ' My 
name is Nugent,' — this was his professional appellation — ' it 
may be known to you. However that may be, I stand in 
ii' ed of your assistance.' 

'You -hall have it, .Mr. Nugent,' answered the policeman 
who became civil and interested at once. 

' If this affair be well managed 1 shall not. forget you. 
Ilamley Morris went on; ' I will see what can be done foi 
you in the way of promotion. But we have difficult work 
l'e!'., re us. Do vou know a small tavern on the left hand 
side?' 

•The "Creek House"?' 

'That is it. \\ hat BOl'i of character does it bear?' 

'The worst in the neighbourhood. It eiv< - us more trouble 

than a dozen others, and is always lid I of I ad characlei 
Only the other day one of our men was knocked about then 
shamefully.' 

■ Are you armed ? ' 

'I have my truncheon. That is all they allow us here.' 

i 2 



116 HELD IX THRALL. 

' And I have a revolver. We shall be a match for them, 
I think. Now attend to me. There is an old countryman 
upstairs, in the company of two well-known thieves. I have 
known them at the west-end. The old man I must have, 
for a capital offence ; the others may go where they like. 
What I am afraid of is, an attempt at rescue by those 
below.' 

•' Will you watch while I go to tho station for assistance, 
Mr. Nugent 1 ' said the constable. 

' I think I won't risk that ; our birds might give us the 
slip,' answered Hamley Morris. ' No, we will make the 
attempt now, and I shall rely upon your hearty co-operation. 
You will wait outside until you hear me fire my revolver ; 
which I shall do as a signal that I require your assistance.' 

The constable nodded. 

' My name's Sampson, sir,' he said, ' if you should think of 
me when it's all over.' 

' A good name, too,' said Hamley Morris, surveying with 
admiration the stalwart fellow before him, who was over six 
feet in height, and stout and strong in proportion. 



I! 



CHAPTER XII. 

A DESPERATE AFFATE. 

j 
i 

Morris entered the " Creek House," and this time walked 
boldly upstairs. The landlord looked enquiringly after him, 
but did not interfere, thinking he had business with thu.-e in 
the private room. 

This room was only used by privileged customers. It had 
two windows, which looked out on the creek. As the night 
was warm, and the gas made the atmosphere hot, they were 
both open, and the rushing noise made by the ebbing tide as 
it flowed past some piles in its way was distinctly audible. 

The three men he had seen in the theatre were sitting round 
a table, on which was a bottle of champagne, and by its side 
two empty ones. 

A few sporticg pictures garnished the walls. The floor 
was Banded, and the furniture was made up of tables and 
chaii 

Morris nodded familiarly to the men, and taking a scat, 
said — 

' You did not expect to see me, I suppose. Don't be 
alarmed, Ned Thompson, or you, Beaver. J am not alter you. 
I have only come to renew my acquaintance with our excellent 
friend, Mr. ( Ihiverton.' 

This address created the utmost consternation. 

The two thieves were somewhat reassured when they heard 
that the celebrated detective had not come to arrest them. 
They at once concluded that Ohiverton, who spent his money 
freely, and who Beemed to have plenty of it, had committed a 
robbery. 

At the same time they thought they were under some 

Bpecies of obligation to defend him. 

Daddy Chiverton turned pale ; but he did not know Hamley 
Morris, and he said bo. 

'Perhaps not. However, I have to thank you for firing a 
little too high the other night when I came back from Stanton, 
or 1 should not be here now,' said Hamley Morris. 



118 HELD IN THRALL. 

' It is you, is it 1 ' exclaimed Chiverton, with a carse. 
' That's just right, I can do now what I intended to do then.' 

Morris drew his revolver from his pocket, and cocking it, 
said — 

' I shall not hesitate to use this if any foul play be at- 
tempted ; and possibly you and I, Mr. Chiverton, may come to 
an arrangement which will do away with the necessity of my 
taking you up on a charge of attempted murder.' 

' What arrangement? ' demanded Daddy Chiverton, keeping 
his eye fixed upon the revolver. 

'I must apologise for entering into private matters before 
third parties,' answered Morris. ' This, however, is my pro- 
position. If you will make a detailed confession of the plot 
which has made your son Lord Cariston, I will forget the two 
shots you fired at me on the Stanton road. The evidence 
against you is complete. The wadding which encircled the 
balls was torn from an old almanack found on your table, 
and ' 

' You may save yourself any farther trouble, master,' 
interrupted Daddy Chiverton. ' If you tore me limb from 
limb I'd confess nothing. You won't get any information out 
of me, so 1 tell you. My son is Lord Cariston, so let him 
be.' 

Hamley Morris was about to reply, when he found himself 
seized from behind by the man whom he had addressed as 
Leaver, and who, during the progress of this conversation, 
had quitted his seat and crept in the rear of the detective. 

The grasp in which he was held was of such a vice-like 
nature that Hamley Morris, though retaining his hold of the 
pistol, w r as unable to move. 

' Quick, Ned,' cried Beaver, ' get the rope and let him cross 
over.' 

Thompson quickly produced a long and thick rope from a 
cupboard in the corner of the room. 

Going to a window he uttered a peculiar cry, and threw the 
rope across the creek. 

It was most dexterously caught by a man in a house on the 
other side, and fixed by a loop, to a large iron hook cemented 
in the wall. 

'Get on the rope,' he said to Chiverton, 'and cross by it 
hand over hand. Look sharp. You've no time to waste.' 

Daddy Chiverton went to the window, and hesitated. 



A DE8PEBA.TE AFFAIR. 119 

The quickly flowing water, looking bhick and turbid below 
him, did not -tv • t i reassure a man who could not swim. 

Making a Btrong effort, Hamley Morris, at this juncture, 
pulling the trigger, fired his pistol. 

lie could not take aim. 

That did not matter. The sound could be heard by Sampson 
outside, and he would come to his assistance. 
i The Bound of the pistol's explosion alarmed Chiverton. and 
he, making a d effort, got hold of the rope, and with 

slow and laborious movements, exerted himself to gain the 
opposite ~ide. 

Sum- men in the house which he was nearing encouraged 
him with their cries, and cheered him on. 

Beaver still held Morris in his powerful grasp, and Ned 
Thompson shouted advice to Daddy Chiverton, who. with 
the utmost difficulty, dragged the weight of his body along. 

The old man was not so active as he had been once, and, 
in truth, the task he had set him was not very easy of accom- 
plishment. 

A change in the aspect of affairs took place when policc- 
constable Sampson entered the apartment with his truncheon 
drawn. 

He comprehended the situation at a glance. 

One tremendous blow felled Thompson Like an ox, and 
another laid Beaver senseless at the feet of the detective. 
•Mind the door, while I cut the ripe' exclaimed llamley 
Morris, as -■ on as he had regained his libei 

This injunction was rendered neecs.-ary by a threatened 
influx from be) 

An alarm had been created by the report of the pistol, and 
the sudden appearance of a constable in uniform on the scene. 

Sampson effectually performed the part of sentry, and kept 
back the furious rabble, who, with the landlord al their head, 
clamoured Loudly for admittance. 

Drawing a I »m his pocket, llamley Morris looked 

out of the window, and i'.. the aid of the moonlight, distinctly 
saw what was going on. 

Daddy Chiverl in, alter heroic efforts, had got three par: 
the way acros 

I [e was almost exhausted. 

The excitement of those on the side he was approaching was 
intei 



120 HELD IN THRALL. 

They held out their hands to help him as soon as he got 
near enough, and redoubled their hoarse cries, which they 
intended should stimulate him to increased exertions. 

' Come back ! ' shouted Morris. 

' Never ! ' answered Daddy Chiverton, between his teeth. 

Hamley Morris was now only anxious that Chiverton should 
not escape him. 

He felt his professional reputation to be at stake. 

Better that he should fall into the creek and be drowned 
than that he should escape from the trammels of justice. Far 
better that his secret should perish with him, than that he 
should gain shelter on the other side and laugh at his pursuers. 

' You refuse to come back ? ' continued Morris. 

In fact, the old man could not have done so had he chosen. 

It was as much as he could accomplish to reach the friendly 
hands which were stretched out to help him, if he could do so 
much. 

He was within a yard of them now. 

Hamley Morris raised his knife, and brought it down with 
sabre-like effect upon the rope, which, thick as it was, became 
instantly severed before the keen blade. 

With a jerk, Daddy Chiverton was thrown against the wall 
of the opposite house. 

If he could have held on he would have been saved. 

Those above would have hauled him up. 

The shock, however, caused him to lose his hold, and he 
was precipitated into the dark stream below. 

In falling he uttered a despairing cry, which was echoed by 
those who had evinced such a friendly interest in his welfare. 

The water closed over his head, and he was lost to sight. 



121 



CHAPTER XIII. 

STARTLING DISCLOSURES. 

By the instructions of the now Lord Cariston, Mr. Snarley 
gave Mr. Ingledew legal notice to quit Heart's Content. By 
Lady Cariston's — that is to say, the Dowager Lady Cariston's — 
advice he refused to take any notice of it. 

' Let ms defy them,' she said boldly. ' You know, my dear 
Mr. Ingledew, that possession is nine points of the law. Very 
well. We have possession ; we will keep it. I may add that 
I am hopeful of events occurring within a few weeks which 
will materially alter the complexion of affairs. 9 

• 1 am astonished, 9 observed Marian, ' that Miss Seafield 
should not have had more consideration for us. Now she is 
Lady Cariston she could surely avert this threatened evil, had 
she hut the will to do so.' 

' I will venture to predict that her triumph will he short- 
lived, ' answered Lady Cariston. 

Captain Scudainoiv was informed that he mighl take 
possession of Heart's Content on a certain day ; and he drove 
over at the stated time to see if the place were empty and in a 
lit condition for habitation. 

His surprise was greal when he discovered thai it Bhowed 
every Bign of being occupied. 

Ringing the bell, the domestic informed him, in reply t<> his 
don, that Mr. ingledew was, al present, the tenant <>f the 
house, and that he could sec him if he wished. 

Accordingly Captain Scudamore was ushered into the 
drawing-room, as he did wish to see Mr. [ngledew. 

The antiquary entered with his coal sleeves tucked up to 
the elbow, and hi- hands covered with clay. He had been 
extracting some fossila from their earthy bed, and api 
k ing in Buch a condition. 

- Do net make any apology, I beg,' Baid the captain. ' It is 
1 who oughl to make excuses t'> you, I fear.' 

1 What is your bu-iiie.-s with me? ' asked .Mr. Ingledew. 



122 HELD IN THRALL. 

' Have you received a notice to quit these premises, may I 
ask?' 

' That is a question which I do not feel myself at liberty to 
reply to,' answered Mr. Ingledew, guardedly. ' If you are a 
lawyer employed by Lord Cariston, all I can tell you is that I 
mean to remain here.' 

' Indeed. I am sorry to hear that,' rejoined Captain Scuda- 
more, ' because I had hoped to occupy the house for a shooting- 
box. My card would have told you, if you had looked at it, 
that I am a captain in the army, and attached to a regiment at 
present quartered at Stanton.' 

' I beg your pardon,' said Mr. Ingledew. ' I thought you 
were some emissary of Lord Cariston's, sent to entrap meinto 
some admission which a lawyer would know too well how to 
turn to his own purpose.' 

' Perhaps there is some mistake on the part of my friend. 
Lord Cariston,' returned the captain. ' His legal adviser told 
me that I could come over here to-day and ask for the keys, 
preparatory to taking up my abode here. I will drive to the 
castle and represent the state of matters to his lordship.' 

' You can do that if you please,' answered Mr. Ingledew. 
' I regret that you should have been disappointed, Captain 
Scudamore, but I am advised to remain where I am.' 

' No doubt you have excellent motives for so doing ? ' 

' That remains to be seen.' 

Captain Scudamore very politely took leave of Mr. Ingledew, 
and drove over to the castle, where he found Darby, who, 
having had a little tiff with his imperious wife, and being 
unmistakeably beaten in the encounter, was not in the best of 
tempers. 

The captain's story was soon told. 

'They won't go, won't they"? ' Vociferated Darby. 'Then 
I'll know the reason why. Have you got your trap outside 1 ?' 

' I have.' 

Drive me over, and I'll show you whether I cannot go 
into my own place or not.' 

'If you will excuse me, I would rather not be mixed up iu 
the affair,' replied Captain Scudamore. ' When you have got 
rid of your obnoxious tenants I shall be very glad to rent yonr 
house ; but you must not be offended with me if I refuse to 
take any part in the process of eviction.' 

' As you like. I'm not so squeamish,' answered Darby. 



STARTLING DISCLOSCRES. 123 

* Wliy, I should like to know, should ji man be kept out of 
his own .' ' 

' There is fio reason that I can see, if he has a good title.' 

' Mine is indisputable.' 

• I wish you luck. You may take the trap and welcome. 
I will wail here and Bmoke a cigar till you come back, if you 
have no objecti 
■ ' Oh, no, none at all.' answered Darby. 

The captain strolled into a conservatory, thinking he had 

caught sight of the folds of Lady Cariston's dress amongst the 

nd Darby strode through the hall, jumped into 

the trap, and drove off to Heart's Content to bully its inmates. 

As soon as Captain Scudamore had gone, Mr. Ingledew 
summoned Lady Cariston and Maria n to inform them ol what 

had taken pla 

They c behaviour; and were engaged in 

conversation when Darby drove up. 

ere in the drawing-room, the windows of which 
looked out upon the lawn, through which the carriage drive 
ran. who their visitor was this ti 

Darby did not re □ audience with Mr. Ingledew. He 

threw the reins to the groom who had accompanied him, 
impudently into the hall, and pushing open the 

drawing-room door, went in and confronted the tri 

An angry flush mantled .Air. [n{ face at this 

ce. 
'What is the meaning of this, i deraan calmly 

ni would let him. 
'What i- • ing of your refu ing to lei my tenant 

have pot 3 Content?' returned Darby. 

place is mi ilieve.' 

am d ■! disputing your title.' 

• V u !.■■ tp my mother here to conspire against me,' continued 
Darby. 'She knows Bhe is my mother though Bhe won't 
owji it.' 

• .M\ ma ernal instinct rebels at the ba .' retorted 
Lady < ariston. 

% I don't care. I can gel <>n withoul you, and you may 
go and lei your instinct rebel Bomewhere 1 !- •. You -han't 
stay here — n A hall. Do you hear thai 

• 'i tik loud enough, my good fellow,' replied Mr. 
Ingledew, I tell you that you must go to w< ' ' ally. 
This blustering will have ■•[.' 



124 HELD IN THRALL. 

'I'll burn the place down over your heads!' cried Darby, 
beside himself with rase. 

' You seem to be fond of doing that sort of thing. Take 
care you don't get indicted for arson,' said Lady Cariston. 

Darby raised his hand and clenched his fist. 

Her ladyship thought that he meant to strike her. 

' Oh, the coward ! ' she cried. ' Would that my son — my 
Ashley Avere here to protect me.' 

As she spoke, the centre window of the drawing-room, 
which extended to the floor in the Venetian style, was dashed 
violently open. 

A man sprang into the room. 

A voice exclaimed : 

' He is here, mother ! ' 

The next instant Darby felt himself forcibly seized by the 
collar of his coat. He was dragged out on to the lawn. 

His captor grasped the horsewhip while passing the carriage ; 
broke it in half ; and administered such a castigation to 
Darby as he had never received before, and which made him 
black and blue for many a day afterwards. 

' Cowardly hound ! ' exclaimed the man who had thus treated 
him. ' Begone instantly.' 

Darby stood trembling before him, his eyes starting from 
their sockets, and exhibiting signs of extreme agitation and 
terror. 

' Ashley Leigh,' he stammered. 

' Off with you,' was the reply. 

He did not stir, and his aggressor drove him with blows and 
kicks to the fence separating the lawn from the park, into 
which he fell headlong. 

It was indeed Ashley Leigh. 

No ghost, no apparition. 

Ashley Leigh in the flesh, safe, sound and well as he had 
ever been. 

Returning to the drawing-room, Mr. Ingledew said : 

'Explain this mystery. Has Mr. Leigh spraug from the 
grave ? ' 

' It may have appeared so to you,' replied Lady Cariston ; 
1 but your daughter Marian and I have known him to be alive 
for some time pa3t. He has remained concealed, as wc 
thought it best that he should do so, and ' 

' H(i would not be here now had he been able to keep his 



STARTLING DISCLOSURES. 125 

temper, when that contemptible cur began to lord it over you 
all,' added Ashley Leigh, laughing. 

'Thank heaven the concealment is now all over,' sighed 
Marian. 

'But the mystery? That to me is as profound as ever,' 
observed Mr. Ingledew. 

'I will explain, my dear sir, pre.-ently,' answered Ashley 
Leigh. 'Just DOW 1 am tired with my exertions; and the 
pleasure of talking openly and unreservedly to my dear 
Marian and my mother is too preat to be resisted. 3 

It was some time before Mr. Ingledew was able to extract 
the following facts from him. 

He <lid not go to London, as was supposed, on the night of 
his disappearance, but took refuge with Thome, the gate- 
keeper, at the lodge. 

Lady Caristou was cognisant of this ; it being originally 
intended that he should remain concealed for a few days, to 
see what happened and v, hat was to be done. 

It was impossible for him to stay at Ilartshill Castle, an 1 

lisl at the triumph of Darby Chiverton. 

When the news came that his body was found, frightfully 
mutilated, on a railway near Loudon, he resolved to let every 
one. In! his mother and Marian, believe that he was really 
dead. 

That the deceased should have been in the possession of 
articles belonging to him was very strange. 

It was accounted tor in this way. 

The loom- he occupied in Duke Stive), St. James's, had a 

few 'lav- previously been broken open, and many things ol 
value abstracted thereti-om. 

The man found on the metals of the railway must hive been 
one of the thie 

Ashley Leigh did not Bcruple to deceive hi- father; be- 
cause he fell that he was treating him cruelly by discard] 
him in favour of the adventurer, Darby, whose claim should 
have been thoroughly sifted an. I examined before a compel 
tribunal ere it had been admitted. 

ar Thome's cottage was the entrance to an underground 
p.i ed with the old abbey, which had been ue 

by the monks I'm- some purpo-e. of their own. 

In the vaults below the ruin- of the Abbey, Thome made 
.Mr. Leigh a c tmfortal imber, which he supplied with 



125 HELD IN THRALL. 

books, wine, furniture, lamps, and everything that he could 
wish ; this being done with the assistance and connivance of 
Lady Cariston. 

At night he wandered forth. 

This accounted for the apparently supernatural appearance 
which had so startled Mona and Daddy Chiverton. 

It also enabled him to be present at the fire, where, his 
features draped in an extemporized mask, he seized a ladder, 
and at a most critical moment rescued Marian from an awful 
death. 

His confinement was very dreary, but he determined to 
endure it until the villains who were plotting against him were 
unmasked, and he could increase their discomfiture by his 
sudden and unlooked for appearance. 

His being out of the way, it was thought by Hamley Morris, 
under whose directions Lady Cariston had acted all through, 
would render the conspirators more unguarded in their move- 
ments. 

So Ashley Leigh remained concealed, day after day, week 
after week. 

His hasty conduct, on the present occasion, rather precipi- 
tated matters. 

He could no longer pretend to be dead. 

There was great rejoicing and festivity at Heart's Content 
that night. 

It somewhat atoned for their wretchedly dull Christmas ; 
which had been made worse by Lord Cariston's untimely death. 

Ashley Leigh's re-appearance flew from mouth to mouth. 

The whole county rang with it. 

In time it reached the ears of Mr. Jonas Bloxam. 

He did not like it. 

If Darby were proved an impostor, and Mr. Bloxam did 
not know what available evidence his enemies had at their 
disposal, he would be a great loser. 

The jewels he held as security were practically worthless 
for he could not dispose of them ; they would be recognized ; 
and a recognition of them would place him in the awkward 
position of a receiver of stolen goods. 

donas Bloxam held the written proofs of Darby's villany. 

He could, if he liked, make terms with Ashley Leigh ; 
and establish him in the position from which he had been 
turned out. 



STARTLING DISCLOSURES. 127 

What should he do ? 

As Jonas Blozam never acted hastily, he slept over the 
matter. 

Darby was furious at the treatment he had met with ; as he 
was do match in physical Btrength for Ashley Leigh, he called 
upon his solicitor, Mr. Soarley, and put the law in force. 

In the afternoon, Mr. Snarley called at Heart's Content, 
and Berved Mr. [ngledew with a legal notice of ejectment, he 
liavinir already received one to quit; and he handed Ashley 
Leigh a Bummons for assaulting Lord Cariston. 

Then, having done his dirty work, he wended his way to 
the castle, where he was to dine. 

Captain Scudamore was, of course, one of the guests. 

His attentions to Mona were more marked than ever. 

Darby frowned, when he saw the looks that won- exchanged 
between them, and the demon of jealousy gnawed at his 
heart. 

llr diank deeply that night, and when his bruised and 
battered countenance, disfigured hy patches of plaster. u:i- 
iurlumed with wine, he had a diabolical appearance, from which 
any woman might have been forgiven from shrinking. 

After dinner a scrap of paper was put into his hand hy a 
servant. 

Unfolding it, he read — 

'If some favourable terms are not immediately made with 
me, I shall consider whether it will not be worth my while to 
bargain with Mr. Ashley Leigh for the incriminatory document 

which 1 hold.' 

There was no signature, but Darby knew from whence ii 

came. 

It was a threat from donas Bloxam. 

This note served the purpose of the death's head at the 

banquet. 

II,- drank glass after glass of wine without being able to 
drown his Fears ol coming evil ; ' uneasy lies the head that 

wear- ;, crOWU,' and DO peace had the jjaudy coron. I brought 

to the false Lord Cariston. 



1 2s 



CHAPTER XIV. 

A RIOT AT THE CASTLE, 

The way in which Mona flirted with Captain Scudamore was 
so flagrant and palpable that no one could fail to notice it. 

Major Dandy M'Dinmont, an astute Scotsman, who had 
accepted the hospitality of the new Lord Cariston, in conjunc- 
tion with many of his brother officers, remarked it. And 
having a propensity for making mischief, the major called 
Darby's attention to his wife's indiscretion, and so fanned the 
flame, which indeed did not stand in need of being increased. 

' Nonsense ! ' said Darby, in reply to a remark of the 
major's, which he did not choose to interpret properly. ' I 
don't think her ladyship means anything. You are mistaken, 
Major. It's a way she has.' 

' Aweel,' answered Major Dandy M'Dinmont. ' I'm unco 
glad you dinna' fash yersel'. If she were my wife I'd interfere 
in double quick time. " Every lassie has her laddie," as the 
song says.' 

' I like to see her lively,' said Darby, gnashing his teeth. 

'I'm na speering at ye,' rejoined the major. 'But your 
lairdship should look after a young callant like Scudamore. 
I dinna' like it. Ill will come of it. I ken that well eneuch. 
I dinna' like it. Na, sir.' 

When Mona rose to go to the drawing-room, Captain Scuda- 
more stood by the dining-room door, holding it open, to allow 
her and his friends to pass. 

Darby, brushing rudely past him, overtook Mona iuthehalJ. 

' I want to speak to you, my lady,' he said, bluntly. 

Mona would have treated him with contempt, and passed 
on ; but there was that in his eye which warned her not to 
trifle with him too much, just at that moment. 

'It seems,' he continued, as she halted in the hall, after 
saying a word to (he nearest lady, requesting her and her 
companions to excuse her for a short time, and proceed to the 
drawing-room. ' It seems that you like that Captain Scudamore 
better than you do me.' 



A RIOT AT THE CASTLE. 129 

' What if I do? ' she had the hardihood to answer. 

'It's a pity you did not make the discovery before you 
married me ! ' he replied bitterly. 

' Is there anything surprising in it? ' 

'Do you want to madden me? Do you want to make me 
kill the mau ? ' said Darby, loudly, and trembling with 
excitement. 

' You know the value of your own life,' said Moua, calmly 
' If you choose to risk your life that is your business, not 
mine.' 

Her very calmness exasperated him all the more. 

She was imprudently throwing fuel upon the fire. 

'Everybody remarked your conduct at dinner,' exclaimed 
Darby, controlling himself by a violent effort. 

' The fact is I have been accustomed to the society of 
gentlemen all my life, and when I come in contact with them, 
I cannot help being repelled by you. If you Avere to shut me 
up, without any friend to visit me, I might learn to appreciate 
you, though I do not seriously say that such would be the 
case.' 

' If Captain Scudamore were a gentleman, he would not 
insult me in my own house, by making love to my wife, 
retorted Darby. ' But I'll take very good care that he shall 
soon go out of it.' 

'Your house!' echoed Mona, her eyes Hashing with wither- 
ing contempt ; for this threat of ejecting the captain exas- 
perated her in her turn. 

' Who's else is it ? ' 

'Your house!' she repeated. 'One word of mine would 
have the effect of restoring it to its rightful owner. Don't, 
think to brow-beat me. I have the whip-hand there, and on 
occasion, would show you that J know how to lash your 
cowardly shoulders.' 

'Don't talk so loud!' exclaimed Darby, in a voice which 
trembled with suppressed fury. ' What' good would it do 
you to spoil everything? You would fall in the common ruin." 

'Perhaps I should feather my aesf sufficiently before the 
storm broke. At all events, don't you threaten me; because 

that is a species of amusement at which two can play, as 1 
will show you — as, indeed. I have -hown you already.' 

'What did you marry me for '. ' asked Darby. 

' For your money, your title — for those worldly advantages 

K 



130 HELD IN THRALL. 

which I helped you to attain ; certainly not for yourself,' 
replied Mona. 

' You dare to tell me that ? ' 

' Oh dear, yes ; and a great deal more,' she said, laughingly. 

Darby's passion now burst all bounds, and gained a strength 
which he was unable to resist. 

Seizing her by the arm, he shook her violently, and threw 
her from him afterwards with all his force. 

' Help me ! help me ! oh, help ! ' Mona had time to say 
before she fell, half-stunned, against the staircase. 

Captain Scudamore was not a spectator of this disgraceful 
scene ; but he heard the cry for help, and he rushed into the 
hall in time to see Mona sink upon the oil-cloth. 

' Cowardly ruffian ! ' he ejaculated, looking at Darby. 

' Don't come too near me. My blood's up ; and I won't 
answer for the consequences ! ' shouted Darby. 

' Are you hurt 1 ' said the captain, bending over Mona. 

' Oh, yes ! ' she murmured. ' My arm pains me, and my 
head. Where is he 1 ' 

' Come away, sir. This is no business of yours. Go out of 
my house this instant, I order you !' exclaimed Darby, in an 
excited tone. ' Go this moment.' 

The captain hesitated. 

' My private quarrels have nothing to do with my guests/ 
continued Darby. ' That woman is a falsehearted wife, and 
you are the cause of it all. Go, sir, you cannot stay after my 
dismissal if you wish to be considered an officer and a gentle- 
man.' 

' I feel bound to protect this lady from your unmanly 
violence,' answered the captain. 

' Will you go ? ' cried Darby, foaming at the mouth. 

' If I have your assurance that this scene shall not be 
repeated.' 

' 1 shall give you no assurance of the kind, and if you don't 
go at once, I shall make you,' answered Darby. 

' Make me ! I don't understand being threatened,' said 
the captain. 

' Then you'll understand that,' replied Darby, dashing his 
fist in his face. 

Captain Scudamore fell. His brother officers rushed out of 
the dining-room at the noise, and the commotion amongst the 
guests was great. The ladies were roused in the drawing- 



A RIOT AT THE CASTLE. 131 

room, and they came out too, making the confusion worse 
confounded. 

'I say this man -hall go out of my house,' shouted Darhy. 
' He's insulted me. He's been vroing on with my wife in a 
way I can't allow, and he shall cither go quietly, or he kicked 
out.' 

' What a scene ! ' said one of the ladies, ' and what bad taste 
'to parade such a matter.' 

'Can yon expect anything else from such a man?' said 
another. 

• He has no breeding,' rejoined the first speaker. 

Captain Scudamore was about to attack Darby when he 
recovered from the effects of the blow which had been given 
him. 

His brother officers, however, would not allow him to do 
so. They told him that lie must horsewhip Darby publicly, 
but that his proper course now was to leave the house. 

Blinded with passion, it was with the utmost difficulty that 
he could be restrained. 

The officers considered that the regiment had been insulted 
by such behaviour, and decided that they would all take their 
leave. 

This they did as soon as their equipages could be got round 
to the door. 

Mr. and Mrs. Snarley were the only ones who remained. 

Darby stood with his arms folded, scowling at everybody, 
and Mrs. .Snarley led Mona upstair a to her bedroom. 

Lieutenant Wood said to Darhy as he was going away — 

• We all regret thai this affair should have happened ; but 
Bince you have taken the law into your own hands in so 
decided a manner, we feel obliged, as Captain Scudamore's 
friends, to leave your house, though we are obliged to you for 
your hospitality.' 

'Yes, you army fellow- can eat and drink when you haven't 
got to pay for it," replied Darby, rudely. 

'That's the sort of Bpeech I might have expected from a 

man of your stamp,' answered Lieutenant Wood. 'But [have 
otdy myself to blame for it. Good night, Lord Cariston or 
Mr. Chiverton, whichever you are.' 

Darby felt incline, 1 to knock him down, but he had too many 
friends with him. They would undoubtedly take his part, and 
if a persona] conflict ensued he would get the wont of it. 

B 2 



132 HELD IN THRALL. 

f You are a set of mean fellows,' he said. ' I am glad to get 
rid of you.' 

The next moment he was alone with Mr. Snarley. 

The lawyer suggested an adjournment to the dining-room, as 
he had not yet finished his wine. 

' I should get out of this if I were you, my lord,' he said. 

1 What for ? ' asked Darby. 

' What has occurred to-night will get about. Travel, it will 
improve your mind.' 

' Confound your impudence, sir,' answered Darby, who was 
in a quarrelsome temper. ' Improve your own low mind, and 
leave mine alone. What have you to do with it ? ' 

'Perhaps I had better go home too,' answered Snarley, 
alarmed. 

* The sooner the better,' replied Darby. 

Mr. Snarley got up from the table, muttering something 
about ' ill-conditioned hounds,' and ' setting beggars on horse- 
back, then went to find his wife. 

Soon afterwards they were driving along the road to Stanton 
in the lawyer's old-fashioned gig. 



133 



CHAPTER XV. 

mona's flight. 

When Darby was alone he determined to go and speak to 
Mona. 

There was no one to interfere between them now. 

Her bed-room door was locked, and he knocked, without 
gaining admittance or even receiving an answer. 

' Open the door, madam,' he cried. 

Still receiving no auswer, he kicked the door violently and 
succeeded in breaking it open. 

Mona, wrapped in a pink flannel dressing-gown, was busily 
engaged in packing up some boxes. On a table by her Bide 
lay a small pistol. 

Pointing to it, she said — 

' Do you see this? It is loaded with ball, and I have placed 
it there to protect myself against your violence. Instantly 
leave this room, or ' 

' What ? ' he demanded, shrinking back. 

' Take the consequences.' 

' Would you shoot me ? ' he asked, in alarm. 

'Like a dog, and with as little compassion,' was the cool 
and deliberate answer. 

Darby became, afraid that in her frenzy she might do him 
an injury, and he retreated, wondering why she was packing 
up her things, and what her intentions were. 

• Where are you going? ' he queried, when he had reached 
the door. 

'That is my business,' she rejoined. 'It. was never my 
intention to stay long under your root', and since the events of 
this evening, it is impossible for me to remain.' 

'It will be a good riddance,' said Darhy. 

'I am glad you think so,' .-he replied. 

' I don't know why I married yon,' he continued. 

'Because yon COUld not help yourself,' -aid Mona; adding, 

'We perfectly understand one another, my Lord Cariston. We 



HELD IN THRALL. 

are necessary to each other, but we need not continue together. 
You shall go your way, I will go mine. Supply me with the 
money I ask for, that is all I want.' 

' But suppose I love you,' exclaimed Darby, who really did 
feel some affection for the splendid creature before him. 

It is always the way. When we are about to be deprived 
of anything, we find that we really care for it and wish to 
keep it. 

So it was with Darby. 

Mona burst out into a loud laugh. 

1 1 am sorry for you in that case,' she said. 

' Can't we make it up ? ' he asked. 

' Never,' was the emphatic answer. 

' But Mona — dear Mona ' 

' I hate you, Darby Chiverton. More than that, worse than 
that, I despise you ; and when a man has merited and incurred 
a woman's contempt, the death of love and esteem is certain ; 
if such things ever existed, which they never did with me for 
you,' replied Mona, in a clear voice, Avhich did not shake or 
change in the slightest degree. 

For a minute Darby was silent. 

' Will you leave me alone,' she continued; 'or must I take 
decided measures to rid myself of your presence? ' 

' I will go,' he answered. And he went away slowly, with 
tears in his eyes. 

That night he drank hard, by himself ; and in the morning 
the servants found him snoring heavily on the dining-room 
floor. 

It was ten o'clock when Darby awoke, hot and feverish, 
with his head ' splitting,' as he expressed it to himself. Getting 
up from the floor, he rang for soda and brandy ; drinking this, 
he put on his hat, and unwashed — unshaved as he was, he 
sallied forth into the cool morning air, taking the way to the 
river. 

He did not notice that he was followed. 

It was so, however. 

A man who had walked up the avenue, with the intention 
of calling at the castle, had seen him emerge from the house, 
and take the direction of the lowlands, through which ran the 
meandering stream, called the river. 

In summer it was very little more than a trout stream. 

But in the spring or the late winter months, when the rain 



moxa's plight. 13o 

<;ame down from the high lands, or the snow melted on the 
hills, its stream assumed formidable proportions. 

This was the case at the time we speak of. 

A heavy fall of snow had been succeeded by a rapid thaw. 

The ditches were streaming over with water, and all the 
little tributaries of the river carried their quota to its bed, and 
it overflowed its banks in some places, flooding the valley and 
inundating what were known as the ' water-meadows.' 

Darby made his way towards a small wooden bridge, which 
spanned the stream, and the approach to which was as yet 
unblocked by the water. 

Over the wooden railings he leant, looking at the turbid 
waters, rushing along at a few yards below him. 

Suddenly his meditations were broken by a — 

' Good morning, my lord.' 

He turned round. 

On the bridge, a few paces from him, was a man. This man 
occupied his thoughts, and had done so ever since he awoke in 
the morning, yet he did not want to see him. 

Jonas LUoxam never really received a welcome from any of 
his numerous acquaintances. 

Friends he had none. 

'Oh, it is you! What do you want?' inquired Darby 
trying to speak steadily. 

He looked wretchedly ill, and he did not appear on" atom 
worse than he felt The wine he had drank overnight had acted 
injuriously upon hie health, and he was weak, giddy, and 
bilious. 

• I must have ten thousand pounds at once, 1 said Jonas 
Bloxam ; ■ Ashley Leigh has come back. Ybu may be turned 
out at any moment ;, "d I don't like the look of aflairs at all.' 

'You have the jewels,' answered Darby, thinking of hie firsl 
serious step in crime, the conflagration which followed his theft, 
which resulted in the destruction of one wing of the castle, 
and indirectly in the death of the well-meaning but somewhat 
weak minded Lord ( lariston. 

'They are only of use as security, and I will give them had; 
to you. as I cannol dispose of them. What 1 wanl is bard 
cash,' answered the usurer. ' You bring me the money in 

'_ r old and notes, and ' 

• Y"U will give me the confession you extracted from me 
said Darbj . ly. 



136 HELD IN THRALL. 

« That I have told you, I shall keep always.' 

' As a means of extortion.' 

' We will not quarrel about terms,' answered Jonas Bloxam, 
shrugging his shoulders. 

'According to that,' Darby said, 'you will be able to turn 
me out of house and home. If I give you this money now, 
what guarantee have I that you will not, in a month or two's 
time come upon me for more ? ' 

' None whatever,' replied the usurer. 

' Upon my word you are candid, Mr. Bloxam, 5 answered 

Darby. 

' I find it the best way,' replied the old man, quietly. 

' If I am to be in your power, I had better have remained 
as I was, poor and friendless, but with no weight on my 
mind.' 

'It is useless to talk about that — am I to have the 
money ? ' 

' What if I refuse ? ' asked Darby. 

' I have been considering Avhat it would be best for me to 
do in the event of a refusal,' answered Jonas Bloxam. ' Of 
course I must protect myself. You have had my money ' 

' I am willing to pay it you back again,' anxiously inter- 
posed Darby. 

' I want something more.' 

' Yes, you are a vampire ! ' cried Darby, excitedly. ' You 
want to drain me of every shilling. But you shan't do it. 
You want to get this fine estate into your miserable hands. 
You want to have the Cariston broad acres in your clutches, 
and you intend to make me the instrument through which 
you will accomplish your ambitious ends.' 

' I could not have given a better exposition of my plans 
myself,' said Jonas Bloxam, with a smile. 

'You shan't do it; I repeat, you shan't do it,' answered 
Darby. 

' I will tell you what I shall do then,' replied the old man. 

'Well?' 

' If you do not comply with my terms, and place yourself 
unreservedly in my hands, I will go to the enemy and place 
your confession in the hands of Ashley Leigh, who will know 
what to do with it, I warrant.' 

' Contemptible scoundrel ! ' ejaculated Darby. 

' It is useless to waste time in exchanging personalities. I 



MOXAS FLIGHT. 137 

coull call you quite as hard names as you can apply to me,' 
replied Jonas Bloxam. 

A sudden inclination to throw the old man into the river 
seized Darby. 

He looked around him. 

No one was in sight. 
t The only witness of the crime would be the all-seeing eye 
of heaven. 

In his half-mad state Darby was capable of committing any 
atrocity. 

Besides, he had embarked in a career of crime, and he did 
not believe in doing things by halves. 

'Well, my lord, your answer?' said the usurer. 'Heart's 
Content is some little distance from here, and I should like to 
see Mr. Leigh at once.' 

' That is my answer,' cried Darby. 

As he spoke he sprang upon the usurer, and seized him by 
the throat; the old man struggled violently, but Darby bore 
him down until his back rested on the railing of the bridge 
and then he cast him over. 

The usurer fell into the roaring torrent. 

For a moment hifl body disappeared. 

When it came to the surface Darby saw him strike out for 
the shore with a boldness which displayed the confidence of a 
good swimmer. 

If he reached the bank he would be safe. 

Darby could expect no mercy from him. 

With the agility of a squirrel Darby vaulted over the end of 
the bridge on to dry ground. 

A large stone, touched by his foot, caught his eye.' 

He picked this up, and holding it in his hand he ran along 
the bank. 

Jonas Bloxam was obliged to swim with the stream and was 
by this mean- carried some distance down, and prevented from 
landing. 

Darby halted when he gol Opposite, and watched him with 
the eye of ;i lynx. 

The old man was BOmewhat exhausted by swimming SO far. 

When he reached the bank, and his feet touched the bottom 
he gave vent to a sigh of relief. 

Almost tottering along, he extended his haul- to grasp 
the bough of a willow winch protruded into the stream. 



138 HELD IN THRALL. 

Darby leant forward, holding the stone in his hand. 

He dealt him a murderous blow with it. 

Uttering a subdued c:y, the old man threw up his arms, and 
sinking back, was sucked into the current, and rapidly carried 
once more down the stream. 

Darby, thinking him dead, ran back to the bridge, and 
retraced his steps to the castle as rapidly as possible. 

' Where is her ladyship % ' was his first question to a tall 
footman he met in the hall. 

' Gone this half-hour, my lord,' was the reply. 

' Gone ! gone where ? ' asked Darby in dismay. 

' Did not say, my lord ; but Captain Scudamore took her 
away in his own carriage.' 

Darby staggered against the wall. 

Already the retribution of heaven was overtaking him. 

The footman was alarmed at his ghastly pallor and haggard 
appearance. 

1 Shall I send for Dr. Mander, my lord ? ' he asked. 

Darby's only reply was to fall back insensible, and the 
domestic, contriving to catch him, saved him from a severe 
injury, which his contact with the floor would have inflicted 
on him. 



139 



• 



CHAPTER XVI. 

AS AWFUL ENI>. 



Detective Hamlet. Mokkis, while looking out of the window 
at the ' Creek House,' saw a boat moored a little higher up the 
inlet. 

His object was to overtake Daddy Chiverton and prevent 
his escape. 

Telling (he constable to guard the house during his absence, 
he hastily took his departure, and made his way down a 
narrow alley between two houses, to the spot where he had 
seen the boat. 

It was a case in which he felt himself justified in dis- 
regarding the rights of property. 

Jumping into the boat, he seized the sculls and rowed 
vigorously into the middle of the stream, after casting loose 
the painter. 

Daddy Chiverton had now disappeared. 

AjB lie passed the 'Creek House,' the detective saw a score 
of faces at the window. 

The bad characters upon this side of the creek sympathised 
with the fugitive. 

To sucdi an extent did they carry their sympathy that one 
had the hardihood to discharge a pistol ai Bamley Morris. 

Fortunately the aim was ool con-ret. 

The luillet whizzed over his head. 

The aexl moment, aided by the tidal flow, he was carried 

hind some hargrs and was safe from further molestation ol 
that sort. 

The barges were su in number. 

A faint lighl was shed upon them by -"me gas lamps in :l 

yard to which ti. re attached, and where they would dis- 

charge their cargoes on the morrow. 

This lighl was strengthened by the rays el' the moon. 

In passing the last barge of the -i\. which was laden with 
barrels containing paraffin oil. that dang roua and explosive 



140 HELD IN THRALL. 

extract, Hamley Morris fancied he saw the shrinking form of a 
man hiding in the stern. 

To make sure he sculled hack a few yards, and distinctly 
saw the dripping garments and the flushed red face of Daddy 
Chiverton. 

' Oho ! my friend,' he said to himself ; ' you are there, eh ? 
"Wait a moment. It won't do to hurry, but I think I have you.' 
- When alongside the barge he sprang on board, intending to 
make his boat fast, but tbe string slipped through his fingers, 
and the skiff was carried swiftly out of sight by tbe tide. 

Uttering an exclamation of annoyance, Hamley Morris 
looked about him. 

Finding that he was discovered, Daddy Chiverton looked 
over the side, as if contemplating another plunge into the creek. 

Morris placed himself promptly between him and the water. 

The tide having fallen, the barge Avas six feet or more from 
the level of the wharf. 

This rendered it practically impossible for either of them to 
clamber up the side and so gain the land. 

All at once Hamley Morris made a terrible discovery — he 
was unarmed. 

In the haste of his departure from the Creek House he had 
left his pistol on the table. 

Daddy Chiverton had nothing with which to defend himself 
except a long-bladed knife, keen as a razor. This he drew 
from his pocket, and opening it, stood on the defensive. 

Hamley Morris drew near to him, and said — 

' Surrender quickly, and give me the confession of your 
son's fraud, and no harm shall happen to you. I will undertake 
that you shall go where you like unmolested, and I will 
guarantee a sum of money for your future subsistence. If 
you resist I will have you dead or alive ; if the latter, you 
will be tried for endeavouring to murder me on the high road 
to Stanton.' 

' You'll get no confession from me,' answered Chiverton. 

'In that case the hvw must take its course,' said Hamley 
Morris, resolutely. 

Daddy Chiverton endeavoured to place one cask on the top 
of another, so as to enable himself to reach the stone coping of 
the wharf overhead. 

Morris, seeing his intention, sprang forward and pushed the 
cask away. 



AX A WIT I. r.XD. 141 

It fell on the dock, and the hoops hursting, the men were 
soon standing in a flood of paraffin. 

Enraged at the failure of his stratagem, Daddy Chiverton 
ran at the detective with his long-hladed knife. 

Morris retreated] having nothing to defend himself with, 
and cried loudly for help. 

His foot slipped, and the next miuute Chiverton was upon 
him, but he contrived to seize his hand, arresting the knife 
in its descent, and a terrible struggle ensued between them. 
While this was going on, the private watchman of the wharf, 
hearing the cries, hurried to the edge of the creek. 

Looking down, lantern in hand, he saw the two men struggling 
together. 

Ilamlcv Morris did not cease to cry for assistance. 

The waterman, who was a little active man, prepared to let 
himself down into the barge ; but while he was endeavouring 
to do so, his lantern fell from his hand. 

It dropped into the barge. 

The door flew open, and it came in contact with a cask, the 
candle fell out, and the flame meeting the loose paraffin, a 
terrible explosion was the result. 

.The oil ignited, and instantly everything was in a blaze. 

Ilamley Morris and Daddy Chiverton were both terribly 
burned, and their dead bodies were found in the water some 
hours afterwards. 

Fortunately for the watchman, he drew himself back when 
his lantern dropped from his hand, and BO escaped the fate 
which would otherwise have been his. 

Thus the secret perished with old Chiverton, and Ilamley 
Munis fell a victim to his zeal, and died in a brave attempt 
to solve the mystery. 



142 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE IMPOSTOR UNMASKED. 

It was some time before the wretched impostor who was 
known as Lord Cariston recovered from the swoon into which 
the elopement of his wife had thrown him. 

The blow, though not altogether unexpected, was very- 
severe. 

He missed the moral support which her presence had 
afforded him, and it would have been a consolation in his hour 
of trouble to know that somebody cared for him. 

As it was, he felt himself alone in the world. 

He had to battle with powerful enemies. 

When he revived he was in a half-maudlin state, and called 
for brandy. 

While under its fleeting influence he grew stronger, and 
conceived the idea that Mona had gone to Heart's Content. 

He could not believe that she had left him entirely. 

Ordering a carriage, he was driven there, and more than 
ever flushed and excited with drink, he asked permission to 
see Lady Cariston. 

Ashley Leigh met him at the door, and was about to order 
him rudely away, when he saw the state he was in, but think- 
ing that he had come to acknowledge his wicked usurpation of 
the title and estates, he beckoned him into the drawing-room. 

'I wonder you have the impertinence to come here after 
what passed between us,' he said, ' on our last interview, but I 
presume you have a motive ? ' 

'I have indeed,' answered Darby, crying like a child. ' My 
wife has gone away, and you have her hidden away from me, 
here.' 

' Here ! at Heart's Content ? ' said Ashley Leigh. 

'Yes. I know it. Let me see her. I want only to speak 
to her, and I am sure she will come back again.' 

' I can assure you that she is not in this house. We have 
seen nothing of her. If she has left you, you will not find her 
at Heart's Content.' 



THE IMPOSTOU UNMASKED. 143 

Lady Cariston qow entered the room. 

• Here is my mother. She can't deny she's my mother, 
because the old lord acknowledged ma, and I've got the title,' 
said Darby, advancing with unsteady gait to meet her. 

Seeing the condition he was in, her ladyship shrank away, 
muttering — 

• Disgusting ! What does the man want here? 'J 

' He is under the impression that his wife has left him, and 
come here for Bhelter,' explained Ashley Leigh. 
'Preposterous!' she said. 

• I'll give you anything, if you'll let her come back to me. 
You want the lease of this house : I'll give it you. Mr. Ingle- 
dew shall not be turned out, I promise you that, only give me 
back Mona,' exclaimed Darby. 

• That she should have left you is not at all surprising,' said 
Lady Cariston. ' I always said that Mona Seaiield was de- 
signing and mercenary in the extreme. She married you for 
what she could get.' 

' Where is she ? Let me see her,' pleaded Darby, the tears 
streaming down his face. 

' Is the man insane .' ' asked her ladyship. 

Looking significantly at Lady Cariston, Ashley Leigh said 
to Darby — 

1 If, as you say, you are deserted by your wife, it is a sign 
that you are being punished for your crimes. Confess the 
injustice of which you have been guilty towards me, and which 
my unfortunate father BO materially assisted by his easj 
credulity. 1 will forgive you, even promise thai you Bhall not 
1"- punished, and thai you shall be provided for.' 

This proposal recalled Darby to himself. 

Ii turned hie idea- into another channel. 

His suspicious mind na- instantly on the alert. 

• Vou don't catch a weasel asleep. I know that I have been 

drinking, bul an old bird is not to be caught with chaff. She's 

my mother,' he pointed to Lady Cariston, * that's right, 

isn'1 it 

Ashley Leigh was silent. 

'Of course it is. Very well. Then, if she's my mother 
I I,, Lo r d Cariston and you're nobody. I am right enough.' 

• You must be found out, BOOneT Or later,' Suggested Lady 

Cariston, taking her cue from Ashley. 

'Later,' answered Darby, jokingly. -Decidedly later. It 
ain't time yet. Don'l you wish you may gel it '' 



144 HELD IN THRALL. 

' There is nothing to be done with him,' said Lady Cariston 
to Ashley, in a low tone. 

' I am afraid not. If he be tipsy he knows what he is about. 
I hoped to entrap him into some incautious admission, replied 
Ashley Leigh. 

' Of course, I saw your motive directly. Will it not be best 
to put an end to this absurd scene ? ' 

' I scarcely know.' 

'While Ashley Leigh was hesitating, a servant came in, 
saying, ' A gentleman to see you, sir.' 

' Who is it ? ' demanded Ashley. 

* He would not give his name, sir.' 

' Very well. I will come to him in one moment,' said 
Ashley, adding to his mother, ' Stay here with this fellow till 
my return. I shall only be in the passage ; if he annoys you, 
call, and I will be with you instantly.' 

Lady Cariston inclined her head in token of assent. 

Darby's head sank back upon the chair, and he looked half- 
stupidly out of his moist eyes at her ladyship, whose loathing 
and disgust were plainly visible on her eloquent and strikingly 
handsome countenance. 

When Ashley Leigh reached the passage he saw an elderly 
man with a bandage tied round his head, who appeared in a 
very excited state. 

'Perhaps you don't know me, squire?' he cried. 'I hardly 
know myself. But my name is Jonas Bloxam. I've narrowly 
escaped being murdered, first being thrown into the water, and 
then hit on tbe head with a big stone ; fortunately the wound 
was not anything worse than a skin one, but if the villain had 
followed it up, I should never have lived to serve another 
writ, or issue another capias.' 

1 Dear me, I am glad you escaped, Mr. Bloxam,' answered 
Ashley Leigh. ' I have known you for some time by name, 
and I must congratulate you upon a very narrow escape.' 

' You may well do that.' 

' Who is the miscreant, may I ask ? ' 

' You know him,' answered the usurer, with a knowing 
look. 

' Indeed ! I suppose you want a warrant. I am in the 
commission, as of course you are aware.' 

' No, I don't want a warrant,' replied Jonas. ' If you and I 
can come to terms, I have a better revenge in store than all 



THB IMPOSTOR DNMA8KED. 145 

the arrests in Christendom. I'll leave you to deal with the 
man.' 

1 Some enemy of yours, I presume,' said Ashley Leigh, 
seeming much puzzled. 

The usurer's remarks had awakened his liveliest curiosity. 

'Yes, he's an enemy, because he won't do the right thing by 
me, and I know too much for him. I swore I'd be the ruin of 
him, as I was climbing up the river bank, half-blinded with 
my own blood, anil bo I will. Jonas Bloxam never forgives 
when he's treated badly, as he has been this day.' 

' What assistance can I render you ? ' 

' Simplv this Help me to crush the usurper at the castle.' 

At these words Ashleigh Leigh caught his hand in a hearty 
grasp. 

• Make your own terms,' he said, eagerly. 

w You know he's an impostor? ' continued the usurer. 

' Of that I never had a doubt.' 

' But you want the proof.' 

'I do,' answered Ashley Leigh. 

'That I can give you.' 

'You ! ' cried Ashley, d di^htedly. 

'I,' answered Jonas, 'I have it, in his own handwriting, 
set down in black and white, a regular confession, which will 
send him to quarry Btone for the rest of his life, at Portland.' 

'Bit--- mi-, this is great news. You almost take my breath 
away,' exclaimed Ashley. ' I knew that my right would be 
established some day, but 1 did not think the time was so 
near.' 

' You'll agree to my terms? said the usurer. 

1 Name them.' 

'They are; fust, the money I've Lent Darby Chiverton, 
with the' interest I've thought til to charge him; that must 
not be looked too closely into. Secondly, a present for myself, 
■ay five thousand. I'm sure that's moderate f>>r helping you 
to get twenty thousand a-year, and your rent-roll won't he far 
off that. Mind, you must DOt say where you got the confession 
from, unless it's absolutely I don't want t 

made an accessory.' 

'Trust mc Mr. Bloxam, I will protect you in return for 
the service you are rendering me," answered Ashley. 

• You . o my terms ? ' 
' Unreservedly.' 

T, 



146 HELD IX THRALL. 

' Just put your name, then, to a bit of paper. Excuse me, 
but I like to have it all fair and above board. It's so easy to 
forget, when the thing is settled and done with. Gratitude, 
you know, Mr. Leigh — my lord, I mean, beg pardon, I'm sure 
— is always a sense of favours to come, not of those received.' 

Jonas Bloxam, when going home to change his wet clothes 
and get his wound bound up, thought of a bill stamp as a 
precautionary measure, and got one filled up ready for 
acceptance. 

' Come into the study,' said Ashley. 

The usurer followed him into Mr. Ingledew's sanctum. It 
was empty. 

' Now, Mr. Bloxam, show me the confession, and tell me 
how it came into your possession,' said Ashley. 

The usurer did so, and informed him how Darby had set fire 
to the house to get possession of the jewels, then ended by 
saying : 

' I will give you the confession and the jewels, and let you 
off for five-and-twenty thousand. Come now, that's liberal.' 

'I will do nothing' of the sort,' answered Ashley; 'you 
must trust to my generosity. You know you have acted 
illegally, Mr. Bloxam. You also know that you are entirely in 
my power. I will take care that you lose nothing ; but your 
profits over this unfortunate and nefarious transaction shall 
not amount to the enormous sum you dream of.' 

'I know I have not been altogether just,' answered the 
usurer, in a whispering voice. 'But look to the risk I ran. 
It is not fair for you to take advantage of me like this. You 
are too hard upon me, my lord, indeed you are, more especially 
after agreeing to my terms.' 

' Cannot you be content to trust to my generosity ? ' 

' If I must, I must ; but I'd rather have it done legally. I 
didn't think you had the heart to rob an old man of his hard 
earned gains.' 

' I repeat that you shall have no reason to be disappointed ; 
be satisfied with that, and put aside your bill stamp. I never 
broke my word yet, and I shall not begin to do so for the sake 
of cheating you out of your money, which you have amply 
earned by placing his paper in my hands.' 

' Give it me back again,' exclaimed Jonas Bloxam, clutching 
at the precious document, which Ashley removed from his 
reach. ' Give it back. I was a simpleton to part with it. Til 



TIIK UIFOSTOR INMASKl.D. 147 

go home and think it over. We'd better meet to-morrow, Mr. 
Leigh — you are not my lord till it is all proved, you know.' 

• You have gone too far to draw back, Mr. Bloxam.' 

' No, I haven't. I will draw back. Give me the paper. It's 
a robbery. It wasn't true about the stolen goods — the jewellery, 
I mean. I wrote the paper myself. Give me the writing, 
Mr. Leigh.' 
' The wretched man trembled with an avaricious terror. 

He thought he was going to lose all. 

• Darby Chiverton is in this house now,' answered Ashley 
Leigh. ' Come with me am! assist at his exposure, or I will 
denounce the pair of you. Do as I bid you, Mr. Bloxam. It 
i- your only chauce.' 

' You won't be hard upon me, will you ? Say now you 
won't be hard upon me," pleaded the usurer. 

" You have already received my promise to that effect, let 
that sutisly you ; and now follow me to the drawing-room,' 
auswered Ashley Leigh, whose white face and compressed lips 
showed his determination at once to unmask Darby's villany. 

The usurer had no option but to obey. 

They entered the drawing-room together. 

Lady Cariston started when she saw the ghastly appearance 
pre.-ented by Jonas Bloxam, who hobbled in with the aid of a 
stick. 

Darby was half asleep in the chair. 

No conversation had taken place between him ami her 
ladyship since Ashley had left the room. 

Touching him lightly on the shoulder, Ashley Leigh 
exclaimed : 

' .Mr. Chiverton, here is the man whom you tried to murder.' 

Willi a cry Darby looked up. 

Jonas Bloxam stood before him. 

' Begone ! ' he screamed, in a paroxysm of terror, thinking 
he saw a ghost. ' 1 did not do it ! I wasn't — I — take him 
away — away — away ! ' 

' The hemp's grown, and ;< murderer's grave yawns lor 
you,' answered Jonas Bloxam. 

The usurer enjoyed his fear, and took a pleasure in 
increasing it. 

' Not dead ! ' gasped Darby, ninety able to believe it. 

1 No. Providentially he has escaped from the fate you 
intended for him!' paid Ashley Leigh. 



148 HELD IN THRALL. 

Then he held up the incriminatory document ; the sight of 
which showed the miserable impostor that his fraud was 
discovered and that his exposure was complete. 

'Here is the proof of your guilt. Your own confession, in 
your own handwriting, and signed by you ! ' said Ashley Leigh. 

Dropping out of the chair, Darby sank upon his knees, 
and clasping his hands abjectly together, begged for mercy. 

'It was not me. I was put up to it,' he said in piteous 
accents ; ' it was she, my wife ; she who's run away from me ; 
she who married me for the title and the money, Mona Seafield. 
She planned it, and came to our cottage when my mother was 
dying,' and told my father and I what to do ; and I wish I'd 
never seen her. Oh ! Mr. Leigh. I'm very sorry. You won't 
prosecute me ? It was not my doing.' 

' Get up. It is to heaven that you should kneel for mercy, 
not to man ! ' replied Ashley Leigh. 

His contempt for the wretch was increased tenfold by this 
disgusting exhibition of cowardice. 

' I won't move until you have given me your pardon, my 
lord, for you are the real lord ; and now you've got your own 
again, you'll let me go.' 

' Get out of my sight,' replied Ashley Leigh, ' and go where 
you like ; but mind this, if you ever come within fifty miles 
of Hartshill Castle, and I hear of it, I'll prosecute you as far 
as the law will let me. Be off at once, or I may repent my 
clemency, and reconsider my determination.' 

Darby did not stay to hear this repeated. 

He had sense enough to go at once to the castle, secure all 
the money and valuables he could lay his hands upon, and 
start, laden with the spoil, to London. 

Ashley Leigh found no one to dispute his right to the title 
of Lord Cariston, for the usurper had fled, and every one hailed 
his re-appearance in his proper position with acclamation. 

Although he did not comply with Jonas Bloxam's exorbitant 
demands, he satisfied even his grasping character, and Lady 
Cariston had her jewels restored to her. 

Nearly a year elapsed, in consequence of his father's death, 
before he married Marian Ingledew. 

As the castle had been prolific of disagreeable events, they 
resolved to spend a happy Christmas at Heart's Content. 

This they did. 

A few of' the friend? of. Marian's girlhood and one or two 
college companions of Ashley's were invited. 



THE [MP08T0R UNMASKED. 149 

Tlicrc was plenty of flirting, dancing, and kissing under the 
mistletoe, for it was a happy time with all. 

The end of the conspirators was what might have been pre- 
dicted from their lives. 

Darby Chiverton. after pursuing a course of crime in 
London, was transported for life for committing a burglary 
under peculiarly desperate circumstances. 
! Mona was soon discarded by Captain Scudamore, aud, left I i 
her own resources in Pari-, sank from one depth of degradati":. 
to anotl 

She came back to Loudon with the husband of another 
woman, but swift retribution overtook her. When comi: ■•.; 
back from Richmond, where they had dined, the carriage was 
overturned by a coachman not more Bober than his master and 
mistress. Mona was terribly injured about the head, and the 
man who had disgraced himself by an alliance with her led her 
taint and bleeding to a doctor's house. 

It was night, and the street was deserted. The doctor cane' 
down, and ushering them in, did all that his skill suggest.. 1 , 
but unhappily without any beneficial result 

Hona was fatally injured. She never recovered from the 
hurt she received and the shock to her constitution. After a 
lingering illness she died, unwept, and was buried in a ni 
less grave in an obscure part of a vast London cemetery. 

Ashley Leigh, now Lord Cariston, became one of the m 
popular men in the county, a m hounds, a member of, 

parliament, and was, as a landlord, admired by all his tenants, 
nor was bis wile a whit less liked than himself, for Bhe was 

all gentleness and love to her fellow creatun . 

In one anotfa -h-ty. and in the enjoyment of each 

other's love, they found that true Heart's Content, which, 
alter much Buffering, make up in pleasure j . . reet to 

those " ud a virtuous existenc 



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